Queensland has been hammered by “impressive but very terrifying” giant, record-breaking hailstones which smashed car windscreens and pelted houses during a severe storm.
The Mackay region was battered by hailstones of up to 16cm on Tuesday which shattered a national record of 14cm held by South East Queensland during severe storms in October last year, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Kym Jepsen from Yalboroo shared photos with Yahoo News Australia of some of the hailstones almost as large as her foot, which is a size 9.
“It was very scary. Have never been through anything like that,” she said.
She added the hail damaged both the cars and her house. Ms Jepsen was at home as the hail came thundering down.
But spare a thought for Christopher Harvey, from the Whitsundays, who was driving through Yalboroo when the hail hit. He posted a video of his run-in with it.
“Jesus, this is a hail storm,” he says as the ice hammers his car.
“That’s some big ice falling down.
“I’m going to have some dents in my car after this.”
Mr Harvey told Yahoo News he expects his car to be written off. Images show the back window and the windscreen of his Toyota both punctured by large hailstones. Dents are seen on the roof too. The front windshield was left with two holes in it.
Viewers on Facebook were shocked at the “insane” weather conditions Mr Harvey experienced.
“That’s crazy,” one woman wrote.
One man called it “some serious stuff” while another woman labelled it, “Scary, freaky and expensive”.
“Amazing. Wow. Could knock you out,” another woman wrote.
The 'rare' record-breaking hail
Bureau meteorologist Jonathan How told Yahoo News Australia it’s the largest hail ever recorded.
“It certainly is rare and not something you would expect,” Mr How said.
Mr How said it is possible larger hail was recorded in the past before people could record size through photographs.
But even if that it is the case, Tuesday's is the largest hail in decades.
“It’s impressive but very terrifying,” Mr How said.
“You wouldn’t want to be caught in it.”
The storms which produce hail, like the pieces seen yesterday, “aren’t very big”, Mr How said and the systems inside them are even smaller. It's likely not many areas outside of the Mackay region registered much if any hail at all.
As for the likelihood of more hail in the coming days and weeks, Mr How said that is a possibility but thankfully it’s “unlikely” we’ll see a national record broken twice in a single storm season.
Storm season runs from November to December.
Mr How reminded people to be prepared for it.
“We are very likely to see giant hail again,” he said.
He explained BOM’s definition for giant hail is about 5cm while large is 2-5cm.
BoM's guide on storm season preparation and safety
Secure and shelter pets along with items in the backyard which could blow away in strong winds such as lawn furniture. Park vehicles undercover where possible. Check the app or listen to the radio for updates. Secure windows, doors and close curtains. Keep an emergency kit with water and medication you might need.
When the storm hits do not go outside. Do not use a fixed telephone. Avoid touching brick and or concrete. Do not stand on concrete and tiled floors with bare feet.
If caught outside, do not drive through floodwaters. If swimming or on a boat, get out of the water and drive to land as soon as possible. Do not ride horses or fly kites. Do not seek shelter under small groups of trees and stay away from clotheslines, metal poles and fences. Also avoid holding any metal such as umbrellas or golf clubs.
Weatherzone meteorologist Felix Levesque told Yahoo News Australia storms are likely to continue in the area for the next few days along the Capricorn Coast through to Central Queensland and the Tropical North Coast, affecting hubs including Mackay and Rockhampton.
BoM has cancelled its severe storm warning for Queensland.
But showers and thunderstorms are forecast for Gladstone through as far north as Carmila on both Wednesday and Thursday before clearing ahead of the weekend.
The storms won’t bring much rainfall though with as little as 1mm forecast.
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