Dark clouds descended on Rockhampton moments before the severe thunderstorm struck.
Dark clouds descended on Rockhampton moments before the severe thunderstorm struck. Claire Dillon Rodgers

Reflections on Rocky's ripper of a hail storm

REFLECTING on the past week's weather in Central Queensland, it has been a tale of fire and ice.

A week ago, the region was busily preparing for an extreme bushfire threat and yesterday, the area was smashed by torrential rain, thunder, lightning and hail stones.

As the ominous green clouds rolled towards the Rockhampton CBD, the streets were clogged with traffic as workers desperately scrambled to find undercover shelter for their vehicles before the hail storm hit.

The strong wind gusts up to 72km/hr whipped up the white-capped waves on the Fitzroy River before the drenching rain set in.

Rockhampton Airport's rain gauge was knocked out of commission 10 minutes into the storm leaving local's rain gauges to fill the void for rainfall data.

Amazing totals were reported, varying widely between suburbs in the Rockhampton region with sizeable totals recorded on the north-side of Rockhampton with one Frenchville gauge collecting 124mm, Norman Gardens 115mm and Koongal 104mm.

WINNER WINNER: This Frenchville rain gauge collected 124 mm, the largest rainfall result for the Rockhampton region.
WINNER WINNER: This Frenchville rain gauge collected 124mm, the largest rainfall result for the Rockhampton region. Edwina Andrew

Images were posted up on social media of hale stones the size of small golf balls landing in Frenchville, with smaller hail stones also landing throughout the Rockhampton area.

There was reports of flash flooding with cars swamped and a number of roads being inundated including Alexandra St and East Street but the floodwaters were understood to have quickly subsided.

Resident's houses were swamped and a number of businesses throughout the city were also affected.

Numerous witnesses reported water related problems at the Stockland shopping centre including the underground car park being flooded, escalators being shut and roof leaks impacting on a number businesses, which were forced to close to mop up.

When the weather eased enough to venture out, the carnage was visible and widespread.

Members of the Rockhampton community help move a fallen tree on East St.
Members of the Rockhampton community help move a fallen tree on East St. Aden Stokes

Roofs were ripped off buildings, boom gates were down, traffic lights off, power lines down, with fallen trees and branches a common sight.

CQ Health has confirmed that lightning strikes have caused damage at the Rockhampton Hospital but said there is no risk to patient safety with back up generators in operation.

At the peak of the storm activity, the power supply was knocked out for 25000 properties in Rockhampton and the Capricorn Coast, but services were gradually restored by Ergon Energy's crews throughout the evening.

An estimated 4500 people without power by 8pm last night including Depot Hill and Allenstown on the south-side and the parts of Koongal, Berserker, Lakes Creek and Kawana are lacking power on the north-side.

Ergon crew works on powerline  on Alexandra St.
Ergon crew works on powerline on Alexandra St. Allan Reinikka ROK041218astorm11

First responders were kept busy with a school bus carrying 13 children reportedly being involved in a minor crash at Iron Pot but it wasn't believed to have resulted in any injuries or significant damage.

There were also reports of a two vehicle traffic crash near the entrance of CQUniversity on Yaamba Rd, with one patient needing to be assessed by emergency services.

Rainfall totals

  • Frenchville 124mm
  • Norman Gardens 115mm
  • Koongal 104mm
  • Marmor 85mm
  • Bajool 80mm
  • Park Avenue 78mm
  • Raglan 76mm
  • Midgee 72mm
  • Kawana 57mm
  • Taranganba 45mm
  • Gracemere 48mm
  • The Caves 43mm
  • Yeppoon 34mm
  • Biloela 32mm
  • Kabra 29mm
  • Gladstone 11mm