Environment

Canberra weather: severe thunderstorm warning issued for the ACT region

Queanbeyan and south Canberra were battered with heavy rain and large hailstones on Thursday night causing disruption and in some case, destruction. 

The Queanbeyan State Emergency Service responded to more than 140 calls for help as residents reported golf ball size hail stones across the town. 

A section of the Woolworths store in Queanbeyan collapsed during the storm forcing management to close the store for several hours. 

Kristel Shelley was driving with her two children in the car when a deluge of rain starting hitting her car and those around her. Terrified, she took shelter under a tree along with an elderly man who was caught while walking.

"When we got home it looked like a tornado had hit our house," she said. "Our pergola and car port were completely destroyed by the hail and smashed into a million pieces."

"The hail ripped right through our kid's trampoline, broke our solar lights and left leaves and plants everywhere. My husband was out there cleaning for a couple of hours."

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Bryan Myers, a Queanbeyan resident, said the hailstorm destroyed his backyard pergola with his driveway and suburban street turned an icy white. 

Riverside Plaza was evacuated around 5.30pm after being hit with heavy "golf ball size" hail. Parts of O'Connor shops and Lyneham in Canberra's north were left without power. 

According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the storms brought heavy rain and hail to Orange, Katoomba, Canberra, Goulburn, Cooma and Yass.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued for the ACT and Snowy Mountain district on Thursday afternoon but withdrawn around 7pm once it passed to the north. 

The SES advised Canberra residents to keep their cars under cover and to keep clear of creeks and storm drains.

"Don't walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water," the bureau said. "If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue."

The bureau also encouraged people to stay indoors away from windows and to keep children and pets indoors.

Hail storm in Queanbeyan

Posted by Brent Hunter on Wednesday, 10 February 2016

Weatherzone meteorologist Guy Dixon said the southern suburbs of Canberra were hit hardest during the evening. 

"As you moved further north in Canberra the chance of seeing hail diminished," he said. 

The last hail storm in Canberra was on Australia Day, when residents of Tuggeranong reported damage to their backyards and cars due to large hail stones. 

The storm damaged hundreds of vehicles at Canberra car dealerships with one repairer predicting there could be an average of 500 dents per car. Some had up to 1000 dents.

Mr Dixon said the weather conditions were likely to improve on the weekend, with a sunny day and a top of 34 degrees forecast for Saturday.

"Moving into the weekend we will see most of the instability confined to the far south east coast," he said.

According to the bureau there is a medium chance of thunderstorms on Friday afternoon with a forecast top of 31 degrees. 

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