Brisbane 'Supercell' storm: Huge clean-up begins in Queensland

The storm is thought to be the worst in the area for nearly 30 years

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The Independent Online

Brisbane has endured battering winds, rain and hail-stones the size of golf balls in the worst storm to have hit the Australian city in decades, leaving streets flooded, power lines cut and at least 39 people injured.

The storm struck during the afternoon rush hour on Thursday, trapping commuters for hours in stalled electric trains, while cars were seen driving through high levels of floodwater.

State-owned electricity supplier Energex said up to 90,000 homes had been left without power in Australia’s third largest city, after hundreds of power lines were brought down by the storm’s strong winds on Thursday, reaching 140kph. Around 68,000 homes were still without power on Friday morning. One man had the roof of his house ripped off his house, while television news broadcasts showed high-rise windows smashed, light aircraft flipped upside down and severely damaged on an airfield and trees split open and felled in the streets.

The army has been called in to help emergency crews remove fallen trees, while 12 people are understood to have been injured as a result of the storm.

Queensland State Premier Campbell Newman described the storm as the worst to hit the city of 2.2 million people since 1985.

The storm, with winds gusting as strong as those found in a Category 2 cyclone, has been called a “supercell” storm by meteorologists, and is thought to have caused $100 million (Australian dollars) worth of damage.

The supercell was created when two smaller storm cells merged, creating a huge, complex storm system with a vortex at its centre.

Additional reporting by  PA