COUNTING THE COST: Storm carves destructive path
A MASSIVE clean-up expected to last days is under way across Ipswich after a fast-moving storm pounded the city with damaging winds and large hailstones.
Trampolines were thrown into neighbouring yards, windows shattered, shopping centres flooded and parts of the Ipswich Hospital evacuated as water came through the ceiling.
Power was cut to almost 5000 Ipswich homes as the storm unleashed more than 36,000 lightning strikes.
The strong winds, clocked at 100 kmh at Amberley between 2.14pm and 2.24pm, stripped the leaves and branches from trees and brought others crashing down.
Riverlink Shopping Centre car park was inundated with water and parts of the restaurant area along the riverside were left looking like a disaster zone.
The howling wind brought down a fence that had been standing for 40 years, surviving floods and cyclones, at the Ipswich Turf Club, club general manager Brett Kitching said.
"A brick wall as well as the infield sponsor's signs blew down and buckled - just fortunate no one was around and all are safe," Mr Kitching said.
A West Ipswich businessman tallied up the damage to his business, expected to cost more than $20,000 to repair.
The front windows of Tint-a-Car were almost entirely shattered.
Rain soaked the carpets while wind whipped through Matt Hart's office.
Mr Hart lives at Cleveland but knew his shop was storm-damaged because he received dozens of phone calls and messages from Ipswich residents to lethim know.
When Mr Hart arrived to see for himself, a woman was standing out the front of the shop, protecting it.
"The whole front shop entry was blown off," Mr Hart said.
"The window completely ripped out and laying on the footpath."
On Monday the shop still didn't have power, meaning Mr Hart lost almost a full day of business.
"Unfortunately, that's how it goes," he said.
"Generally we've been pretty lucky where we are here, a little bit of vandalism but nothing serious.
"It just sucks because Christmas is the time of year when we are usually flat out.
"Last week we had record-breaking week.
"I'm a realist, these things happen and it could have been worse."
Patients in an orthopaedic ward at Ipswich Hospital were evacuated after parts of the ceiling in ward 5F collapsed.
West Moreton Hospital Health Service confirmed there was water damage in three areas: in the operating theatres, the oncology ward and ward 5F.
There were no injuries as a result of the damage.
Throughout yesterday four SES crews were out responding to more than 200 calls for help, including one from the Gold Coast and one from the Scenic Rim, with more volunteers joining the ranks after work and continuing the clean-up into last night.