Thick hail blanketed the ground like snow.
Thick hail blanketed the ground like snow. Contributed

'It was like Armageddon': Seven minutes of destruction

DURING seven minutes of destruction, hail the size of golf balls pelted down on a Southern Downs business and smashed windscreens, skylights and caravans.

Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park and Cafe owner Louise Reed was sitting on her deck with guests just after 5pm Thursday when she gazed at the sky and thought they might see rain.

Within 30 seconds the heavens opened, unleashing a ferocious hailstorm unlike any she had witnessed in her eight years at the park.

One guest had to cower under a camping chair, unable to escape the wild weather.

"You could hear the thunder but you didn't expect that was going to happen, we might lose our entire bottom kitchen," she said.

After the storm passed, Mrs Reed and the guests were left to pick up the pieces.

"It looked like Armageddon, all this steam and just white everywhere, it was still and quiet, there were no birds," Mrs Reed said.

Just up the road at Spring Creek Mountain Cafe and Cottages, hail the size of ping pong balls pounded into the ground and left a thick blanket of ice on the ground.

Owner Bev Ruskey said she had never seen anything like it in her 16 years in the area.

Leaves were stripped from trees and 'deafening' hail pounded on the roof.

"I didn't think of the storm until the water started coming in through the lights," she said.

"It was all the hail that had built up on the roof and couldn't get away."

 

Hail smashed Spring Creek Cafe this afternoon.
Hail also smashed Spring Creek Cafe. Facebook

Ms Ruskey said the team assembled buckets and towels to catch the water, but it did not prevent the cafe from opening today.

She will have the inside of the roof assessed for damage.

A short drive away at The Hermitage, Rod Rozynski was sheltering inside his dairy when the storm hit.

"We thought it was a bad storm, we've had them before but then the power went out with a big bang," he said.

The storm destroyed two of Mr Rozynski's sheds and sent sheets of iron soaring through the air.

 

Large hail pelted down at Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park and Cafe at Killarney last night.
ICEY DESTRUCTION: Large hail pelted down at Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park and Cafe at Killarney on Thursday. Queen Mary Falls Caravan Park

Mrs Reed said she was humbled by the swift response from SES volunteers, who helped guests clean up.

"I'm so humbled by all the guests that are staying in the park and everybody is pitching in and helping everybody," she said.

The cafe was forced to close today but is expected to reopen tomorrow with a limited menu.