A TORNADO has ripped through a family home south of Ingham, snapping metal gates off their hinges and tearing branches from trees.
The violent wind exploded through a cattle station on Orient Road at 6.30 am yesterday, terrifying two young families and whipping one gate onto their roof.
It lasted for 15 seconds, tossing around a playground and trampoline as the parents and children sheltered in horror.
Just moments before, a mother and her young family had walked through the garden and into the house from a nearby caravan, narrowly escaping the danger.
Mother of three Holly Sheahan, who lives at the property, said: ‘There was no warning, I was looking out the window thinking how lovely the soft rain was – there was no wind.
‘Then out of nowhere a huge gust of wind roared through and ripped gates off their hinges, blew branches off – the whole thing lasted no more than 15 seconds.
‘Branches were hitting the roof. Objects were flying through the air – it was insane 15 or 20 seconds.Mother of three Holly Sheahan
‘My sister and her two little girls had walked from their caravan outside to the house only a few minutes before it hit.
‘It’s terrifying to think what could have happened to the youngest if they were still walking over.
‘She would only weigh 20 kg and would have got blown away for sure.
‘It’s super scary, but we are totally fine – and thankful for it’.
Her husband Cody added: ‘There was no damage whatsoever at the yards 200m one way or the buildings 200m the other way – it was just a destructive narrow strip.’
According to the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM), ‘tornadoes are more common in Australia than people realise’ and ‘an eerie calm may accompany the tornadoes approach’.
Holly added: ‘We want to make people aware of the potential danger when we have weather like this.
‘It was so calm I was thinking about taking the children outside – then it hit’.
Ingham has been battered by ex-tropical cyclone Imogen, with roads and bridges being flooded.
Communicating on Facebook today, Mayor of Hinchinbrook Ramon Jayo said: ‘The Herbert River at Abergowrie Bridge peaked at 10.16m around 3 pm Tuesday 5 January and is currently at 9.36m and falling. Renewed rises to around the moderate flood level (10m) may occur during Wednesday.
‘The Herbert River at Ingham Pump Station peaked at 10.9m around 8:30 pm Tuesday 5 January and is currently at 10.6m and falling. The river level at Ingham Pump Station is expected to remain around the minor flood level (10m) during Wednesday morning, with the chance of a second minor flood peak during Wednesday as upstream floodwater arrives.
‘The Herbert River at Gairloch peaked at 9.9m around 9:30 pm Tuesday 5 January and is currently at 9.69m and falling.
‘The river level at Gairloch is likely to fall below the minor flood level (9.5m) during Wednesday morning. Renewed river level rises above the minor flood level (9.5m) are possible during Wednesday.
The Herbert River at Halifax is currently at 5.27m and rising.
‘A peak around 5.3m is likely in the Herbert River at Halifax during Wednesday morning. The Herbert River is likely to remain around the major flood level (5m) throughout most of Wednesday.’
For more information visit: www.bom.gov.au/qld/forecasts/ingham.shtml