Valda Smith's home was destroyed in the Boxing Day storm in Kumbia.
Valda Smith's home was destroyed in the Boxing Day storm in Kumbia. Tobi Loftus

House destroyed by 'cyclone-like' storm

KUMBIA resident Valda Smith was celebrating the festive season with her daughter in Hervey Bay when a monstrous storm destroyed her home on Boxing Day.

"A kind neighbour rang me up and said, 'There is something I think you need to know'," she said.

"She said the roof had gone. We didn't know how much the roof had gone.

"I set out early on Wednesday morning and saw how extensively it was damaged."

The powerful storm tore the roof off Ms Smith's home and destroyed several sheds and fences on the property she rents.

 

Valda Smith's home was destroyed in the Boxing Day storm in Kumbia.
Valda Smith's home was destroyed in the Boxing Day storm in Kumbia. Tobi Loftus

"It's hard to say how much water damage there is, I was just looming at some of the furniture now blistering from the rain," she said.

"I guess all the electricals are gone.

"Other than that the things that were already in the cupboards like my precious patch working fabrics, they're fine. They just need a wash."

She said she had lived on the property for about 14 years.

"This is magical spot," she said.

"I just love it here.

"I guess this is just the way it is."

Ms Smith, who is now staying with neighbours, said she would now need to find somewhere else to live.

"I don't know what the owners will decide to do with it, I'll need to find another little nest," she said.

"My neighbours and friends are the best possible."

Rob Unverzagt lives on the neighbouring property to Ms Smith and was out helping her clean up on Wednesday morning.

"I've never seen anything as bad as this," Mr Unverzagt said.

"I've lived in this district all my life and never seen anything like it.

"The winds had to have been faster than 100km/h."

He said thankfully there was no structural damage at his property.

"I'm surprised we didn't have more damage at home the way it blew," he said.

"It was roaring like a freight train.

"I was watching one shed, I thought it would go, but it didn't. It stayed intact, though we did have a lot of trees and other stuff blow down."

In the main township of Kumbia the tennis courts were destroyed, homes had balconies torn off them and Bunya trees collapsed and blocked roads.

 

Courtney Webster's shed was destroyed in the Boxing Day storm in Kumbia.
Courtney Webster's shed was destroyed in the Boxing Day storm in Kumbia. Tobi Loftus

Resident Courtney Webster was in Brisbane when she heard about the storm tearing through Kumbia.

"We heard about it on social media and saw our house looking fine and intact on a video," she said.

"We drove back, got home, looked out the window and saw our shed had been damaged.

"We weren't here but the force of the wind blew panels into our neighbour's yard."

Margaret Stewart was home during the storm and said it felt like she was in the middle of a cyclone.

"We thought our windows were going to blow in. The rain was just pelting, but the wind was the worst thing," she said.

"I was shaking, I was really frightened... I haven't seen anything like this before.

"Water was coming into the house from the top of the window, but thankfully there was not much damage."

Extensive damage from wind and hail was also reported in Ellesmere, Inverlaw and other parts of the region.

"We copped it bad out here at Ellesmere," Nerissa Pyke wrote on Facebook.

"Big trees are snapped in half and twisted at my property."

 

South Burnett South SES controller Arthur Dawson said SES crews, as well as fire and council crews were out through the night on Boxing Day and all day Wednesday responding to damage.

"We had a lot of trouble getting into (places) due to trees on the roads and highways," he said.

"Kumbia is one of the places that has been hit (badly), but everywhere has had a severe hit through that area.

"From the Bunya Mountains, right through to Boondooma."

A Queensland Fire and Emergency Services spokeswoman said in between December 26 and 27 there were 22 calls for assistance made to the SES from the South Burnett.

"The worst hit area was Kumbia with nine calls," she said.

"The calls were mainly for trees down, leaky roofs and damaged roofs."

Kingaroy was placed on emergency water restrictions after the storm as the town's water treatment facility lost power, cutting off some homes from water access completely.

 

About 3000 homes also lost power due to the storm.

There were also reports on social media of a mini-tornado throughout parts of the region.

Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Gordon Banks said he could not confirm reports of a tornado being seen in parts of the South Burnett.

"It's possible, though we generally wouldn't include a tornado in a severe weather warning unless we had a confirmed sighting," he said.

"Because even though they are possible they are extremely rare."

South Burnett


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