Cleaning up after the Dicky Beach storm on Sunday night.Residents hid in their homes at the Dicky Beach Caravan Park during the storm.
Cleaning up after the Dicky Beach storm on Sunday night.Residents hid in their homes at the Dicky Beach Caravan Park during the storm. Warren Lynam

Park evacuated as 'ferocious' supercell damage assessed

UPDATE: Residents in the Dicky Beach caravan park smashed by Sunday night's supercell storm have been evacuated. 

Sunshine Coast Council Local Disaster Management Group operations officer Cathy Buck said residents had been asked to leave as the group ensures the area is safe. 

"They've actually been asked to evacuate because we're doing a full assessment of the park for any asbestos or dangerous debris through the area," she said. 

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Ms Buck said the area had suffered substantial damage in the storm that ripped through Caloundra. 

"It's a very small area that's been damaged but quite ferocious," she said.

"There is a lot of debris around, a lot of trees down.

"At this stage there's not a great deal of infrastructure damage, as in roads, but certainly a lot of debris and there have been a number of caravans in fixed areas that have been affected by trees falling on them."

The council's Local Disaster Management Group is today conducting assessments in the area, and asking people to steer clear of the areas badly affected and be award of trees on roads. 

"The primary focus is to make sure everyone in the park and the area is safe," Ms Buck said.

"And to make sure there has been as minimal injuries as possible. We've had none reported at this stage, and hopefully it stays that way.

UPDATE: Residents across the Caloundra area and as far north as Wurtulla have shared pictures showing huge trees ripped from the ground in the aftermath of Sunday's storm.

The storm, which has been described as a "mini-tornado" caused serious damage at Dicky Beach Caravan Park when it swept through about 5.30pm.

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Trampolines were blown into neighbours yards, decades-old trees were downed, and properties were damaged during the short, but intense, storm. 

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said 57 calls for help were made from Caboolture to the Wide Bay Burnett region, mostly for help with leaking and damaged roofs.

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Michelle Armstrong said the storm crushed her daughter's new car. 

"... a massive gum tree smashed through it at (a) Caloundra charity event she was hosting," she said. 

"Thank god her little kids were not in the car, all were safe. 

GREAT STORM ADVICE: HOW BEST TO PREPARE FOR NEXT ONE

"A very sad time for all who were affected on the Coast."

Jennifer Turner

Lisa PB Evans said it felt like "very strong winds" were coming from every direction.  

The damage has left locals amazed.   

"I was in total shock at the devastation to vegetation in Dicky Beach this afternoon but when we found this 70+ year old Norfolk (pine) down at Neil St, Dicky Beach, tears flowed," Jennifer Turner said.  

While the storm smashed the southern end of the Sunshine Coast, further north it passed overhead with a few bolts of lightning and little else. 

EARLIER: A storm described as a "mini-tornado" has swept through the Caloundra area and caused serious damage at a caravan park.

Residents of Dicky Beach Caravn Park huddled in their vans as the vicious storm swept through, bringing down trees and causing thouands of dollars worth of damage.

"It only lasted five minutes but it was just like a tornado going through," one park resident said.

"The wind was swirling around and it took roofs off vans and brought trees down onto vans.   "It's done some serious damage.  

"We were right in the line of fire.  

"There are at least 20 vans damaged.  

"It was just horrific. It's like a war zone here."  

 

UPDATE 4.30pm: Severe thunderstorms are bearing down on Double Island Point, Rainbow Beach, Gympie and areas south of Gympie. 

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned destructive winds and large hailstones are likely to fall from these storm cells, as well as severe storms in the Brisbane CBD very dangerous thunderstorms near Peel Island and North Stradbroke Island. 

A wind gust reaching 106kmh was recorded at Brisbane Airport just after 3pm. 

Thunderstorm warnings remain in place for the Sunshine Coast, as well as the Wide Bay and Burnett and the south-east coast, as well as further north in the state. 

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce destructive winds, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones over the next several hours, the Bureau has warned. 

UPDATE: The Bureau of Meteorology has issued another storm warning, saying severe thunderstorms are likely to drop large hail stones from north of Gympie to Moreton Bay.

The storms are expected to affect Maroochydore, Noosa, Caboolture and Caloundra, as well as Gympie and Moreton Bay and its islands. 

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should:

  • Move your car under cover or away from trees.
  • Secure loose outdoor items.
  • Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.
  • Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
  • Beware of fallen trees and powerlines.
  • For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500. 
Bureau of Meteorology

BREAKING: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for the Noosa and Gympie Council areas. 

The Bureau of Meteorology has detected severe thunderstorms on the weather radar to the west of Gympie. 

The storms are moving east and are forecast to affect ranges between Gympie and Murgon by 2.35pm and possibly Gympie by 3.05pm

Damaging winds and large hailstones are likely.

Bureau of Meteorology

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should:

  • Move your car under cover or away from trees.
  • Secure loose outdoor items.
  • Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.
  • Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
  • Beware of fallen trees and powerlines.
  • For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500. 
The storm front rolls towards the Coast on Saturday afternoon.
The storm front rolls towards the Coast on Saturday afternoon. Martin Rich

 

54,000 LIGHTNING STRIKES AND MORE TO COME

UPDATE: THE Sunshine Coast recorded more than 54,000 lightning strikes as a band of storms swept through yesterday afternoon.

And the experts say there might be more to come today.

The unstable air masses which created last night's spectacular display are hanging around and Weatherzone meteorologist Drew Casper-Richardson said he "couldn't rule out" more storms this afternoon.

"There is still plenty of moisture in the atmosphere as the trough which caused the storms is hanging around, so we still have a chance of storms again late this afternoon but they will become less likely later this evening," he said.

The Coast was right in the firing line when two storms converged soon after 4pm yesterday and for 20 minutes the central and northern parts of the Coast copped a battering.

Heaviest falls were recorded at Yandina (45mm) and Eumundi (33mm) while inland centres further south, such as Beerwah and Landsborough, received less than 3mm.

Weatherzone's lightning tracker recorded the 54,000-plus lightning strikes within a 100km radius of Maroochydore between 1pm and 11pm, with most late in the afternoon.

Mr Casper-Richardson said the figure included both ground strikes and cloud-to-cloud strikes, or sheet lightning.

The good news is that the nasty weather looks likely to disappear for at least a couple of days.

The bad news is that it might be back in time for next weekend.

"The trough that's bringing the instability will move offshore later on this evening, so the next few days will be fairly quiet storm-wise," he said.

"There is a chance of another trough creeping back around Friday so we're not ruling out the possibility of more storms next weekend."

He said it was impossible to predict what this year's storm season would be like, but late spring was the prime time.

"There's usually more cool air hanging around in late spring but by summer there's not so much," he said.

"The storms like you saw yesterday are fairly normal for this time of year but there is no real accurate way of saying what sort of storm season it will be."

 

A lightning strike captured from Mooloolaba during Saturday's storm.
A lightning strike captured from Mooloolaba during Saturday's storm. Jan Bathersby

EARLIER: MORE gusty storms are expected to hit the Sunshine Coast today.

Hot temperatures and a high level of humidity are combining with a low-level trough to create thunder storm activity, and it could be severe. 

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a top of 34 degrees for the Sunshine Coast, and a 60% chance of showers in the late morning and afternoon. 

Despite partly-cloudy conditions the UV index is expected to reach an extreme rating of 13. 

Saturday's brief but vicious storm downed trees around Noosa and wind gusts reached 67kmh and Maroochydore and 57kmh at Tewantin.

The storms dumped 30mm of rain in Mooloolaba and Maroochydore while Tewantin recorded 22mm.

It was a different story inland, with Nambour recording just 0.8mm.

The Bureau of Meteorology predicts a cool change will come through early next week, with day time temperatures staying below 30 degrees.

In the meantime health professionals are urging people to stay cool, be sun safe and stay hydrated as the weather heats up.

AMA Queensland president Dr Chris Zappala said the change of temperature could make many people vulnerable to heat exhaustion or heat stroke.

"The symptoms of heat exhaustion include a pale complexion, sweating, rapid heart rate, muscle cramps, weakness, dizziness, headache, nausea, vomiting and fainting," he said.

"If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, you should take immediate steps to lower your body temperature - lie down somewhere cool, drink cool water, remove your outer clothing and contact your GP."
 



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