TORNADO: Gympie storm 'like nothing I've ever seen before'
THE widespread destruction of yesterday afternoon's severe thunderstorms in the Gympie region left one Mary Valley resident reflecting on the "scariest thing" she had ever seen - and picking up the pieces of her severely damaged kitchen.
Holidaying Gympie Times editor Shelley Strachan had prepared for the impending storms at her Long Flat home when the first Bureau of Meteorology warnings were issued yesterday morning, but wasn't expecting the full extent of the chaos.
"It moved so quickly, it was like nothing I've ever seen before," Ms Strachan said.
"When the lightning started there were just so many strikes so close together, that was when I realised I was in the thick of it all.
"It was like War of the Worlds, it was so close to me. I was standing at my window videoing it, and then it went up about 10 notches."
Ms Strachan abandoned her attempts to video the storm when large hailstones pelted her backyard and vicious wind gusts knocked down 10 of her trees, stripping the rest bare.
She said she took refuge in the safest room of her house as the conditions intensified.
"There was this massive noise and then the hail started bashing against my windows, everything went completely white and I couldn't really see anything at all."
"I hid in my toilet for the first time in my life, it was honestly like nothing I have ever seen before.
"I thought it was easing off, and then the ceiling in the kitchen blew out and this tsunami of water flooded my whole house.
"There is water everywhere, I'm still trying to mop it all up now.
"If it wasn't a tornado it was the closest thing I've ever seen to one in my life, it sounded like nothing I've ever heard.
"I've been here 17 years and I've never experienced anything like this before."
Ms Strachan's home was one of more than 5000 in the Gympie Regional Council area left without power after the storms struck.
An Energex media spokesman said crews would be working rolling shifts to help restore power, but advised residents to "be patient" as they worked in "difficult" conditions.