These pictures were taken on Friday 30th January
2004 after a severe thunderstorm passed through the Veteran region
attributing to the death of one man and causing significant damage to property.
The first I knew of the severity of the storm was shortly after
witnessing strong winds, heavy rain and the loss of electricity at the
James Nash State High School in Gympie. It was only 4 minutes short of
the final school bell at 3:10pm when we lost power, being the technical
support officer I knew straight away that the computer network equipment
which was now operating on a 5KV UPS would have to be manually shut down
if the power wasn't restored in the next 15 minutes.
I looked out at the students who had just finished school and they were
running for their lives and getting absolutely drenched in a matter of
seconds. Because my administrative computer was a note-book it was
happily running on battery power so I decided to have a look at the
local Doppler weather radar situated on Mt. Kanighan to see what was
happening in the way of storms before I shut the network servers down.
I froze in my chair as I looked at the computer screen, the time-lapse
sweep on the screen told me that the main storm had passed over the
Veteran Weather Station and it must have been well and truly hammered!
I checked my email and sure enough there was the automatically generated
Weather event at the Veteran
Weather Station... Check the attached log file.
30/1/2004 15:10:01 Wind Speed kph 171.0 > 60.0
30/1/2004 15:10:01 Wind Gust kph 171.0 > 70.0
I wondered if the weather station was still
operating so I went to the web site and yes, it was still operational
and it confirmed the wind gust speed at 93 knots. I thought
that I better ring and see if my wife was OK. When I got through I could
barely hear her over the top of what sounded like a freight train going
past. She was trying to tell me about all the damage, hail and lightning
when there was a scream and I was cut off.
I am a person who usually enjoys watching the fury of a storm at close
range, but this one was too far away and too close to home for me!
I saved the radar loop to my notebook computer, then promptly shut down
the network servers, explained the situation I had at home as best I
could and bolted out the door heading for home.
I was only minutes from home when I came upon two trees blocking most of
the road and just beyond them were two ambulances, their attendants
didn't seem in too much of a hurry, it was there that I found out that
my neighbor had been killed in the storm and was unfortunately
pronounced dead at the scene. It was not good and there wasn't anything
I could do except hang around and get in the way so I hurried up the
hill to my own home wondering what state I would find my wife, animals
and house in.
Thank God that my wife was OK and so were all the animals, although the
horse and donkey were skittish and no doubt very bruised by the huge
hail that rained down on them, they wouldn't stay in the shed because
the noise of the hail on it's roof was so loud, they just galloped up
and down the house yard instead.
To my amazement we still had mains power, I really expected the weather
station to be running on the UPS. There wasn't a lot I could do until
things settled down a bit, and after my experience of riding home
through the storm on the motor bike, I wasn't going out in the lightning
again, especially knowing what had happened to my neighbor. I had a
strong coffee while we still had power and grabbed the camera to take
The Storm front as it
gathers up it's fury to drop huge hail stones on the Veteran community.
The house with my futile
attempt at stopping the rain from pouring in!
One of the laser light panels that copped it.
The hail was much thicker than this.
In fact, it was this thick at the time
This hailstone has had 30 minutes to melt.
This stone had to be at least 12cm diameter.
God's awesome display of power.
Another one of the stones ages after falling.
Rainbow, at least it didn't flood.
This is the back end of
the BEAST as it headed South South East towards Tewantin.
It seems incredible but at this
year we had only 3.0mm of rain in January, but this year we have received
nearly a foot or 12 inches of rain... Ted
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situations. In emergencies, please refer to the Bureau of Meteorology
warning page: http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/warnings.shtml.