CLEANUP: Norwin grain grower Arnold Peters surveys the damage following a major wind and hail storm which ripped across the Darling Downs on Boxing Day.

Hail storm cleanup continues

Darling Downs farmers are still recovering from a major wind and hail storm which ripped across the region on Boxing Day.

DARLING Downs grain grower Arnold Peters described it as 12 minutes of pandemonium that felt like every moment of two hours.

Mr Peters, who farms some 1450 hectares at Norwin with his sons Lance and Mark, was smack bang under a major wind and hail storm which bashed a strip of about 10x4km on the prime agricultural country on Boxing Day.

Included in the destruction on Springfields were three 238 tonne silos. The superstructure on two on the 8.5m high units were severely damaged while a third was blown off the concrete pad. 

The storm also wrecked a corn crop, destroyed the end of a machinery shed and damaged roller doors and windows on the farm’s home.

Across the storm zone the golf ball size hail also smashed established cotton crops resulting in many farmers oversowing with sorghum.

Mr Arnold said he was particularly concerned that the bolts securing the silo to its concrete base had snapped.

“I can understand that a wind storm could wreck a silo but it shouldn’t be able to be blown off it’s base like this,” Mr Arnold said. 

Mr Arnold said the silo was being blown on a trajectory towards his home. Only a row of mature eucalypts prevented a potentially much worse disaster.

It’s not the first time a major wind and hail storm has struck the area. Two years ago wild weather destroyed the farm’s main workshop.

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology is says February to April is likely to be wetter than average for most of eastern Queensland.

According to the BOM, the wetter than average conditions are expected to include Far North Queensland, which has had a very dry start to its wet season. 

Weak La Niña conditions continue to be present in the tropical Pacific Ocean, with modelling suggesting this event will end by mid-autumn.

“The weak La Niña that developed at the end of 2017 continues,” Bom says.

“However, most models indicate it may be nearing its peak.

“This would be consistent with the historical timing of the peak in El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) events, with most reaching their peak strength in December/January before returning to neutral in the autumn months.

“While six models maintain La Niña thresholds into February, two suggest a return to neutral values.

“By April only three models meet the La Niña threshold. This is consistent with earlier outlooks that suggested a weak and short-lived event.”

La Niña typically brings above average rainfall to eastern Australia during summer, particularly in northern NSW and Queensland. 

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