Terrified drivers pounded by giant hail
DOZENS of cars were damaged by extreme "tennis ball" hailstones on the Bruce Hwy near Gunalda in yesterday's freak hail storm.
And, after watching storm clouds almost magically "split" and go around Gympie every afternoon this week, the city finally received the drenching it wanted, when the skies opened suddenly just before 2pm, with much-needed rain and the less-welcome hail.
Motorists trapped in their cars on the highway told of their sheer terror as giant hail stones rained down upon them, smashing windscreens and leaving their car bodies severely dented.
Brisbane man Scott Hunt was travelling north with two mates when the storm hit.
One of his mates, Bradin Fogarty, was sitting in the back seat and was "pelted" by hailstones as the back windscreen caved in. He grabbed a backpack and shoved it behind his head for protection.
"It was the longest 10 minutes of my life," a shocked Bradin said.
Though brief, hailstones in Gympie ranged from small to about golf ball size near Victory Heights, the size of 20 cent pieces in two short bursts at Veteran. A veranda roof on a house at Old Maryborough Rd was severely damaged.
"I just passed a car and its windscreen was shattered - and that takes a lot," one driver said.
"At Gympie West school, I heard of teachers looking out over the car park and crying about the damage to their cars."
"We're absolutely flat out," a windscreen repair operator said.
"We're getting emergency calls left, right and centre.