Brisbane, Australia Slammed By Superstorm

The Army has been called in to help residents with the path of destruction after a violent storm ripped across Queensland’s south-east.

The government estimates the final damage bill could top $100 million.The Insurance Council of Australia has declared the storm a catastrophic event, with spokesman Campbell Fuller saying 8100 claims have been lodged so far.

He said the present estimate for insurance losses were more than $60 million and ‘we expect this will rise quite sharply’.Mr Fuller told ABC radio that 4500 claims were for home and contents damage, and 3500 for damage to vehicles.About 100 army personnel from the Enoggera barracks have been working to clear main roads, and aid other aspects of the clean up.Captain Bill Heck, from Defence, said the army had essentially wrapped up the mission to clear roads, mainly on the city’s south.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) said it was the worst storm to hit Brisbane in at least a decade, and possibly two decades.Earlier, Mr Newman said it was the worst storm since a similar tempest hit the city in January 1985, and the latest event seems to have eclipsed the infamous 2008 storm at The Gap, which left hundreds of homes damaged and a repair bill of $86 million.

BoM spokesman Richard Wardle said Thursday’s storm was similar to The Gap event in terms of its meteorology and severity, but it had hit a wider area including the middle of the city.He said it was one of the worst supercell storms Australia had seen, generating hail the size of golf balls and in some areas the size of tennis balls or baseballs.

It also dumped close to a month’s worth of rain on some parts of the city in a very short time.’We had 72mm of rainfall at Archerfield, over 60mm of that fell in about 20 minutes.

Just to put that in context the average rainfall out there is 78mm for the month of November,’ Mr Wardle told AAP.’We recorded wind gusts in excess of 140km/h at Archerfield where we’ve seen aeroplanes and helicopters overturned on the runway.

‘Those sorts of wind gusts are the same strength as those experienced in a category two tropical cyclone, albeit they were felt in a much smaller area than what you would get in a cyclone wall.’BoM senior forecaster Peter Otto said supercell storms could spawn tornadoes, but despite reports of swirling winds, the bureau wasn’t aware of any tornadoes touching down during Thursday’s event.He said more storm activity could develop on Friday but it would be nothing like what was seen on Thursday.

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