Veteran Weather Station         www.gympieweather.com

30-01-04 Storm Report:                 
                                                                                                                                    Copyright 1998-2004
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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.

Radar loop of hail storm
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 report...

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 some photos.

The Storm as it rocked Veteran (Photo compliments of Ben Quinn)
The Storm front as it gathers up it's fury to drop huge hail stones on the Veteran community.

 


Tarped roof... waste of time!
The house with my futile attempt at stopping the rain from pouring in!

 

Hail damage
One of the laser light panels that copped it.

A few on the ground.
The hail was much thicker than this.
 

Infact, it was this thick at the time.
In fact, it was this thick at the time

One of the stones 30 minutes after falling.
This hailstone has had 30 minutes to melt.
Deep impact.
This stone had to be at least 12cm diameter.

God's awesome display of power.
God's awesome display of power.

Another one of the stones ages after falling.
Another one of the stones ages after falling
.

Rainbow, at least it didn't flood.
Rainbow, at least it didn't flood.


The back end of the beast.
This is the back end of the BEAST as it headed South South East towards Tewantin. 

It seems incredible but at this time last 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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Do not use this information for emergency situations. In emergencies, please refer to the Bureau of Meteorology warning page: http://www.bom.gov.au/weather/warnings.shtml.