Rockton House owner Angela Geertsma surrounded by large tree branches that came down in the grounds during Monday’s storm.
Rockton House owner Angela Geertsma surrounded by large tree branches that came down in the grounds during Monday’s storm.

Storm hammers historic house

POWERFUL winds, rain and lightning strikes battered the Ipswich region Monday evening, snapping trees like twigs and cutting power to thousands of homes.

Significant downpours over the region's dam catchments have undone some of the work to drain Lake Wivenhoe to 75 per cent, and the process is expected to take another two days.

Lightning strikes knocked out the primary and back-up automatic control systems at Mt Crosby's two water treatment plants, forcing them to be operated manually for the first time in 20 years.

Water Grid spokesman Barry Dennien said electrical engineers were yesterday working to bring the extensively damaged control systems back online.

Mr Dennien said the Gold Coast Desalination Plant and other treatment plants within south-east Queensland were helping authorities keep up with water supply demands.

The historic Rockton House was lucky to have remained in one piece during the storms, which tore apart massive 100-year-old trees.

Owner Angela Geertsma said about six fig and jacaranda trees – the oldest of which was planted in the late 1850s – were snapped when the storms hit about 5pm.

It was just lucky that none of them landed on the famous Newtown residence, which has graced Ipswich since 1855.

“I have never seen winds like it – the trees were almost doubled over.

"I could see sky where I would usually see tree,” Mrs Geertsma said.

A 153-year-old weeping fig and several jacarandas planted before 1890 were among those to fall victim.

The damage was widespread across Ipswich, with SES volunteers answering more than 20 calls for service Monday night and Tuesday morning.

Still waiting for his Basin Pocket home to be repaired after the floods, Warren Johnson had a large African tulip tree snap and land on his roof.

The branch entangled itself in phone and power , but did not cause extensive damage to the roof structure.

“The wind was ferocious for a while there,” Mr Johnson said.

The band of storms brought wind gusts of up to 80kmh.

Power was cut to 40,000 homes.


MONDAY RAINFALL:

Wivenhoe Dam 10mm; Gatton 12mm; Lowood 21mm; Karalee 46mm; Rosewood 52mm; Harrisville 58mm; Amberley 66mm; Bundamba 48mm



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