Queensland storm – Mum battered and bruised by hailstones the size of tennis balls while protecting her baby from tornado
Fiona Simpson urged others to be careful after her face and back and her daughter's head were hit when the hail broke the windows of their car in Kingaroy in the South Burnett region yesterday.
Violent storms caused widespread chaos as they swept across southern Queensland yesterday, tearing roofs from properties and destroying crops just before the harvest season.
Sharing photos of their injuries on Facebook, Ms Simpson – who was also in the car with her grandmother – said: "I’ve learnt my lesson today, NEVER drive in a hail storm!
"We parked on the side of the road when the storm got to heavy and the hail blew out our windows."
Ms Simpson said she used her body to stop daughter Clara being badly injured.
"Please, please be careful in this storm season," she said. "My entire back, arms and head are badly bruised."
The young mum told ABC Brisbane that she originally sheltered the infant in her car seat.
But as the hail grew heavier, she unbuckled her from the car seat and held her on the floor near the pedals as it was "the only safe place".
"I could see her, she was screaming, but I couldn't even hear her, it was so loud," she told the broadcaster.
Ms Simpson, her daughter and her grandmother were hospitalised, but the mum and daughter have since been released.
The powerful super storms and a tornado are part of two weather supercells – sometimes called a rotating thunderstorm due to persistent updrafts – which tore apart towns in Queensland's south east when it ripped through the area this week.
According to local media 9News, hail the size of tennis balls lashed communities in the storm, leaving 9,000 without power.
In some footage of the storm, violent supersized hail is seen bouncing as it hits the ground in a garden.
Farmers have reportedly said their entire crops, including wheat, barely, melon and stone fruit have been wiped out following the storms, while there are reports that lightening has killed some cattle.
One Tansey resident Greg Hellmuth told 9News: "The nose was unbelievable.
"We ran inside and everything was going sideways, all the trees were going sideways.
"We went under the mattress and that's where we stayed," he said.
His wife Gail said after the storm passed, "it was just devastation".
The Bureau of Meteorology said the South Burnett region and other parts of the southeast suffered the worst of three severe storms, two of them super-cell storms, with two tornadoes also sighted.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Jonathon Howe said: "October is around the time for supercells in south-east Queensland."
Windspeeds in central Queensland were recorded at 144km/h with 50ml of rain expected to fall today – hindering plans for a clean-up.
South Burnett Mayor Keith Campbell said farmers who were about to hit harvest season have suffered very significant losses, with buildings in his area also damaged, and trees “shredded”.
“The hail was simply intense when it fell. It was very very prolific. It simply shredded the ears of wheat and barley that was out there to be harvested,” he said.
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