Shattered homes and broken dreams as hail batters Ipswich
TEN MINUTES was all it took.
This morning, Springfield Lakes looked like it had been hit with machine gun fire from above, and speaking to the locals, that is more or less what was delivered from the heavens about 2pm on Saturday afternoon.
A freak storm sent icy rockets reaching up to cricket ball sized plummeting into houses, smashing roof tiles up like biscuits, shattering solar panels and snapping off timber fence palings.
Only houses with corrugated iron roofing were spared damage in a large section of Springfield Lakes, as the storm roared through.
The holes punctured through several homes was enough to causing ceilings to collapse, leaving scores of people to sit out the night with friends or relatives or seek shelter in motels.
Among the worst hit, Lakeside Dve couple Peter and Kathy Morcus, who watched helplessly as the hail first smashed their roof to bits, before the rain entered and their ceilings collapsed in almost every room.
"They were like gunshots coming down on us," Mr Morcus said.
"I have lived in Ellen Grove and Forest Lake before living here and I have never seen or heard anything like it.
"They were the size of tennis balls. My son-in-law was over helping us with a lounge and 10 seconds later the ceiling collapsed on him. Luckily he was OK.
"We were getting ready to leave the house and another bit of ceiling came down."
The couple has lived in the home for six years and had just finished getting the way they liked.
They spent Saturday night with family.
A few hundred metres down the street, the Milne family lost a vehicle, solar panels and hundreds of roof tiles, but managed to escape the massive ceiling damage.
Nicole Milne, her husband Wade and their son Kaden were put up for the night in a motel by their insurance company.
Mrs Milne said her home-based childcare business would have to be put on hold while the extent of the damage was assessed and repaired.
"We feel as though we are lucky here, because the water hasn't pooled up too much in the ceiling like it has for other people," she said.
Mr Milne said the approaching storm "sounded like a freight train coming", and delivered even worse.
"There are divots in the ground from the hail," he said.
"The roar was followed by the thud of meteorites hitting the roof.
"You could hear the roof tiles smashing."
More than 3000 Springfield Lakes homes lost power yesterday afternoon and remain without power today.