Record storm surges hit Mid-Atlantic coast

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 4:22 PM GMT on November 13, 2009

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Record storm surges have caused major flooding along the North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and Delaware coasts over the past 24 hours, thanks to the powerful winds of a slow-moving Nor'easter energized by the remains of Hurricane Ida. Norfolk, Virginia, suffered its highest storm surge on record last night, when a surge of 5.96 feet hit the Sewells Point tide station. The previous record was 5.62' during Hurricane Isabel of 2003, with the Chesapeake-Atlantic Hurricane of 1933 close behind at 5.61'. Last night's peak surge did not hit at high tide, and the storm tide--the combination of surge plus the tide--peaked at 7.74' above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW), slightly below the 7.89' storm tide of Hurricane Isabel.


Figure 1. Rain gauge-measured precipitation from Ida-extratropical for the 24 hours ending at 7 am EST this morning. The storm dumped copious amounts of rain over a wide swath of coast. Image credit: NWS Advanced Hydrologic Prediction Service.

The highest storm surges at Sewell's Point tide gauge in Norfolk, Virginia since 1927:

5.96' Nov 2009 Ida-extratropical
5.62' Sep 2003 Hurricane Isabel
5.61' Aug 1933 Chesapeake-Atlantic Hurricane
4.73' Sep 1933 Hurricane 13, Cat 1)
4.66' Mar 1962 Ash Wednesday Nor'easter
4.05' Sep 1936 (Hurricane 13, Cat 2)

Top storm tides in Norfolk history:

1933 hurricane (Aug 23rd 1933)..............8.9 feet MLLW
April 11th 1956 Nor'easter..................8.0 feet MLLW
Hurricane Isabel (Sep 18th 2003)............7.9 feet MLLW
Ida-extratropical (Nov 12th 2009)...........7.8 feet MLLW
Ash Wednesday storm (Mar 7th 1962)..........7.8 feet MLLW

Serious coastal flooding is occurring from northern North Carolina to the Delaware/New Jersey border, with record high storm surges recorded at many locations. The storm surge at Lewes Point, Delaware at 9:48 pm EST last night reached 4.63 feet, beating the record high of 4.17' set during the January 4, 1992 Nor'easter. Tide records go back to 1919 at Lewes Point. The highest surge at any of the NOAA-maintained tide gauges from Ida-extratropical was 6.74' at 9:24 pm EST at Money Point, Virginia, located on an inlet about five miles south of downtown Norfolk.

Ida-extratropical also brought hurricane-force wind gusts to the Virginia coast yesterday, with a gust of 75 mph recorded at the Oceana NAS. The Norfolk airport recorded sustained winds of 52 mph, gusting to 70 mph, at the height of the Nor'easter last night. Heavy rains of 6 - 11 inches since Tuesday have created flooding on most of the the rivers along the entire North Carolina, Virginia, and Maryland coasts. Ida-extratropical is slowly weakening and pulling away to the northeast, and the rains have ended along most of the coast, though. Virginia has now seen its highest storm surges, but this afternoon's high tide cycle is likely to bring another round of record or near-record storm tides to the coasts of Maryland, Delaware, and extreme southern New Jersey. This afternoon's high tide is forecast to bring a storm tide of 7.6' to Atlantic City, NJ, which would be the 10th highest tide there since 1911, but well short of the record 8.98' storm tide during the December, 1992 Nor'easter. By Saturday, Ida-extratropical will be on its way out to sea, and the storm surges and rains will finally abate.


Figure 2. Predicted storm tide (height above Mean Lower Low Water (MLLW, the lowest tide measured in a full 19-year natural tidal cycle, black line) for Lewes, Delaware (at the mouth of Delaware Bay), as predicted by the GFS model. A storm tide of 8.0 feet is forecast this afternoon during the high tide. For a full description of this plot, see the NOAA Extratropical Surge web site.


Figure 3. Tide gauge trace from the Sewell's Point gauge in Norfolk, VA, shows a storm surge of nearly 6 feet (green line) hit at 8:30 pm EST, with a maximum storm tide of 7.8 feet above MLLW occurring at high tide. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.

Storm surges and sea level rise
The storm surge flooding in the Norfolk area was exacerbated by the fact that sea level has risen and the land has subsided significantly over the past century. Over the past 60 years, absolute sea level along the coast of Virginia has risen by about 2.6 mm/year. However, the relative sea level has risen by 4.44 mm/year since 1927 (Figure 4), meaning that the land has sunk by about 1.84 mm/year. The net result is that the ocean is now about 1.16 feet higher at Norfolk than it was in 1927. The Norfolk tide gauge shows the highest rate of relative sea level rise of any gauge on the U.S. East Coast (though relative sea level rise is much higher along the Gulf Coast, with rises near 3 feet/century at New Orleans). Thus, today's 5+ foot storm surge brought water more than a foot higher in Norfolk than the 5+ foot storm surge of the 1933 hurricane. Storm surge damages will steadily increase along the entire coast this century as sea level rise accelerates and coastal development continues. It is urgent that government take action in coming years to limit development in vulnerable coastal regions. The ocean is going flood our sand castles that we are building in harm's way, at an ever increasing rate.


Figure 4. Monthly mean sea level at the Sewells Point, VA tide gauge in Norfolk, without the regular seasonal fluctuations due to coastal ocean temperatures, salinities, winds, atmospheric pressures, and ocean currents. The long-term linear trend is also shown, including its 95% confidence interval. Relative sea level has increased by 1.16 feet since 1927, the highest rate of rise on the U.S. East Coast. Image credit: NOAA Tides and Currents.

Portlight responding to the flooding in Virginia
Portlight.org is deploying up to 3 self-sufficient mobile kitchens capable of feeding over 2000 people a day to the Virginia coast. They will be providing meals for first responders, volunteers, and, of course, affected residents. Donations are welcome--visit the portlight blog to learn more and make a PayPal donation. Thanks!

Take action: sign the QuikSCAT letter
The QuikSCAT satellite, launched in 1999, provides crucial measurements of surface wind speed and direction over Earth's oceans twice per day. Forecasters world-wide have come to rely on data from QuikSCAT to issue timely warnings and make accurate forecasts of tropical and extratropical storms, wave heights, sea ice, aviation weather, iceberg movement, coral bleaching events, and El NiƱo. QuikSCAT's antenna is expected to fail within the next six months, according to engineers at NASA/JPL, and QuikSCAT data has already been removed from our global weather forecast models, due to concerns about data reliability.

There exists a narrow window of opportunity in the next few days to get the wheels in motion to launch a QuikSCAT replacement instrument on a Japanese satellite in 2015. The funding for this must start within the next budget cycle, and there is currently no funding in place for a replacement QuikSCAT. If we miss this this opportunity, it may be ten years or more before a QuikSCAT replacement can be launched. To this end, I urge all of you to sign the QuikSCAT funding letter being presented to John Holdren, Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The letter is at: http://coaps.fsu.edu/scatterometry/statement/.

If you agree with the letter, please sign it (via the web site) as soon as possible: there is a very small window of opportunity to influence the next budget cycle, with this window closing within a few days.

Note that to validate your signature you must type the validation code in the bottom box. This code is the word that appears after 'code =', then click on the sign button.

For more information on QuikSCAT, see my post, The case for a new QuikSCAT satellite.


Figure 5. NASA's QuikSCAT satellite, launched in 1999. Image credit: NASA.

Expect a new blog until Monday, when I'll discuss the outlook for the remainder of hurricane season. It is finally over?

Jeff Masters

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Quoting Orcasystems:


Ohhh I like that :)

Sometimes I just LOVE the internet!

Okay, all my guys are asleep here (1 human, 2 canine), so I best get to sleep, too.
I'm looking forward to a day without Ida- remnants gloominess, I have to tell you.
Good night!
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670. 789
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Orca...hmm, 103 is a high fever in an adult. In a way, wish my bug had been it...get it over with.
It will be FUN to have a year to figure out what to get SWMBO for the 31st...hard to top 30, though. Pink Diamond Pig earrings?

789 -- hey, a guy's gotta' make a living, good for you, but Sat. night's gotta' be tough.
Air Force -- Andrews Air Force Base? '86 is ringing a bell, don't quite remember why...
towing is 24/7 love it or hate it tough with the economy but im good ! fema is not always understood kinda like 120,000 dollars in equipment to do 50.00 tow people dont understand that either know what i mean ?
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Orca...almost...I'll keep working on it.

one suggested 31st anniversary gift

Link


Ohhh I like that :)
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Orca...almost...I'll keep working on it.

one suggested 31st anniversary gift

Link
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Orca...hmm, 103 is a high fever in an adult. In a way, wish my bug had been it...get it over with.
It will be FUN to have a year to figure out what to get SWMBO for the 31st...hard to top 30, though. Pink Diamond Pig earrings?

789 -- hey, a guy's gotta' make a living, good for you, but Sat. night's gotta' be tough.
Air Force -- Andrews Air Force Base? '86 is ringing a bell, don't quite remember why...
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666. 789
my sister lives in that area her husband was air force (retired)i remember they were there about a year she flooded the auto around 1986?
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665. 789
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
I'm not sure of portlight's physical address...do you know how to use the Wunderground mail at the top of the screen?
To WU mail presslord, or portlight?
If not, I'll get it for you tomorrow.
G'night.
thank you very much for your answer had to be away awhile i have a towing bussiness to tend to who knows when!
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:

(Off-topic) Orca, did you and SWMBO have a high fever w/ swine flu? Whatever I had, I wanted to die...but little fever.


Low grade.. 100-101
I spiked one night for about 2 hours at 103.
I wasn't to badly hit.. but SWMBO was basically in bed for three days.

Not sure what I am going to get her for our 31st anniversary... after all.. she gave me swine flu for our 30th.
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I'm not sure of portlight's physical address...do you know how to use the Wunderground mail at the top of the screen?
To WU mail presslord, or portlight?
If not, I'll get it for you tomorrow.
G'night.
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Quoting Orcasystems:


Its a boring night.. I am sitting here watching a movie and the blog..and adding jokes to mine.

(Off-topic) Orca, did you and SWMBO have a high fever w/ swine flu? Whatever I had, I wanted to die...but little fever.
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661. Halyn
I'm going to call it a night .. but .. if you would please email me the address for Portlight (at: gon2ca@yahoo.com) I will send an email tomorrow telling about what they are doing and suggest that maybe some of my friends might find it in their hearts to send a donation to Portlight .. as I have a sneaky feeling that Press and the others often put their own money in when it is needed ..
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
So did I put 789 to sleep? And everybody else?
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
b-o-r-i-n-g


Its a boring night.. I am sitting here watching a movie and the blog..and adding jokes to mine.
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Quoting Halyn:
I'm 'awake', Awake .. :) Just sitting here thinking about those hail videos you all posted .. and thinking about the Portlight people who are providing much needed services .. the worst I've ever had to deal with is the Mississippi flooding .. have filled my share of sandbags .. and wish I could do more .. but it is really hard to carry an oxygen tank into a disaster area .. so .. know that I am very proud to know that you younger people are stepping up and doing what my peers can no longer do ..

Sounds like you have done plenty (that's hard physical labor) to serve your community...proud of YOU. Take good care!
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658. Halyn
I'm 'awake', Awake .. :) Just sitting here thinking about those hail videos you all posted .. and thinking about the Portlight people who are providing much needed services .. the worst I've ever had to deal with is the Mississippi flooding .. have filled my share of sandbags .. and wish I could do more .. but it is really hard to carry an oxygen tank into a disaster area .. so .. know that I am very proud to know that you younger people are stepping up and doing what my peers can no longer do ..
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So did I put 789 to sleep? And everybody else?
zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz
b-o-r-i-n-g
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Quoting Bordonaro:
The property damage totals for "Nor Ida" will probably approach $1 Billion USD in damages/flood losses. Unfortunately many do not have flood insurance. This is a military area with Naval and other bases there. About 2,000.000 people were affected over a 48-96hr period of with up to 12 inches of rain and incessant 40-50MPH winds w/gusts to 70MPH over a 24-36 hr period.



GREAT stats; concise and powerful.

Absolutely no doubt FEMA will step up. Virg. Emerg. Mngmnt & Kaine have done a great job paving the way. It's just a matter of how many counties, I'm sure. Also, almost all reservists are NOT first responders, so we have to wait for flood waters to go down, no dangerous situations...our 1st job is to NOT get in the way of the first responders and not become part of the problem. THEN recovery can begin.

And yes, ALL disasters begin on the local level and we cannot recover without what we call the Voluntary (or Community) Organizations Active in Disaster, like Portlight, Red Cross, Salvation Army, and church groups.
One very small thing I do is try to go to the disaster with a full suitcase and come home with an emptier one -- just leave stuff with one of the charities or churches.
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Quoting Bordonaro:
The property damage totals for "Nor Ida" will probably approach $1 Billion USD in damages/flood losses. Unfortunately many do not have flood insurance. This is a military area with Naval and other bases there. About 2,000.000 people were affected over a 48-96hr period of with up to 12 inches of rain and incessant 40-50MPH winds w/gusts to 70MPH over a 24-36 hr period.

Hopefully FEMA steps up to the plate to offer assistance, as it appears many have lost everything they had. Also our prayers should
be fro their speeedy recovery.

Awake in Maryland and Va Beach hurricane posted info to help keep us informed.

I suggest we wll contribute, as we can to Portlight to get these folks supplies to assist them. For their speedy recovery.
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Aha, found it! And thanks for posting it 789, because this has some of the info I was waiting for:

The Governor and a handful of state and local officials pledged to help by asking for aid from FEMA. They're in the process of gathering damage estimates and expect to release the total amount of damages Monday or Tuesday.


See the part where it says damage estimates Monday or Tuesday? Each county has to have a certain threshold of damages to be included in the State request to the Federal government for a MAJOR disaster declaration.
Obviously, a couple of the counties have horrible damages; IMO will be a fast declaration.
I don't know that area of VA very well, but a couple counties maybe will have less than the threshold necessary to get Federal help (then the State of VA will help them out, and maybe the Small Business Administration -- if they're rural, maybe the Dep't. of Ag.). So you see, it can get involved.
The good thing is once VA has the major declaration, counties CAN be added later.

So, sorry I took so long to explain...once the President has signed, those of us who are Disaster Reservists can come in and help out. It's like we have to be invited you know...no one wants the Feds invading!!

We all have different specialties. I used to be in Community Relations...but this will be my first time out with Public Affairs (which is about time because that's really what I did in my last "real" life).

And yes, while I'm deployed I'm under FEMA. When I'm not deployed, I'm a private citizen. In my county, I'm a CERT volunteer.

So now prob. Patrap & Press are going to be like -- OMG -- flag her every post, dang guberment no good Fix Everything MY Arse arggghhhh
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The property damage totals for "Nor Ida" will probably approach $1 Billion USD in damages/flood losses. Unfortunately many do not have flood insurance. This is a military area with Naval and other bases there. About 2,000.000 people were affected over a 48-96hr period of with up to 12 inches of rain and incessant 40-50MPH winds w/gusts to 70MPH over a 24-36 hr period.

Hopefully FEMA steps up to the plate to offer assistance, as it appears many have lost everything they had. Also our prayers should
be fro their speeedy recovery.

Awake in Maryland and Va Beach hurricane posted info to help keep us informed.

I suggest we wll contribute, as we can to Portlight to get these folks supplies to assist them fot their speedy recovery.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:


Seismic Monitor

AOI

AOI

Humor in Comments
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Quoting 789:
that was for awake sorry xcool


LOL. Thank G-d I'm not the only one who gets posts outta place sometimes!
Short answer, yes. If you have a minute, I'm typing a bit more explanation for you.
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650. xcool
haha
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649. 789
Quoting xcool:
789 FOR ?
that was for awake sorry xcool
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Quoting Chicklit:
Hey, where's Ida?


"Nor Ida" is hiding in the bottom picture on the right. What excitement she has planned for the next several days should be very interesting!
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647. xcool
789 FOR ?
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646. 789
Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
Thanks, xcool, that gives me a clearer pic. of what's going on. It's obvious -- we have a Green Giant vs. a She-Monster.
(WeatherStoopid = ME)

Xcool, what/where's that pic?
are you still on alert
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Wow, what is wrong with me today? I keep losing posts OR double-posting.

Well, Chicklit, I am SOOO glad you had such a nice day (and even healthy). So maybe we really might see some sun here tomorrow, finally.

xcool, don't mind me...I thought one of your posts mysteriously disappeared; it didn't. Just too much webbernetting on my part.
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644. xcool
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Thanks, xcool, that gives me a clearer pic. of what's going on. It's obvious -- we have a Green Giant vs. a She-Monster.
(WeatherStoopid = ME)

Xcool, what/where's that pic?
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Quoting AwakeInMaryland:
637. Hi, Chicklit. I was so surprised by that image I went to the NOAA website to double-check.

I'm SO confused. Maine is under a floodwatch, so, where IS the she-monster?

HELP.

Gorgeous here in ECFL today. Took a long motorcycle ride and didn't have a single bad moment. Little chill in the air tonight, but no sign of IDA. Will go to the beach tomorrow to take pictures and post. Other than that...I can't tell ya.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11178
641. 789
Quoting presslord:
...too bad stupid isn't painful...
whats up press is portlight heading out
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640. xcool
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637. Hi, Chicklit. I was so surprised by that image I went to the NOAA website to double-check.

I'm SO confused. Maine is under a floodwatch, so, where IS the she-monster?

HELP.
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Stupid is painful btw.
Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11178
Hey, where's Ida?

Member Since: July 11, 2006 Posts: 14 Comments: 11178
636. 789


by Kristina Rohall

Posted on November 14, 2009 at 9:33 PM

Updated today at 10:57 PM


Governor Tim Kaine met the people behind the devastation left by the November Nor'easter Saturday.

He toured some of the hardest hit areas in Hampton Roads, including three neighborhoods in Hampton and several sections of Ocean View in Norfolk.

"It's heartbreaking when you see people who have suffered losses like these," said Kaine. "Everybody's trying to help each other out, and neighbors are helping each other out which is an inspiring thing to see."

Hampton resident Angela Leary suffered major losses in her home, but she is more worried about her friend.

"One neighbor, a very fine man, he's refused his dialysis and he won't leave his house," Leary explained. "He said 'I just want to die here.' He can't take it."

In Norfolk, Kaine met with several residents, including Victor Horsford. Horsford's first floor Ocean View apartment was completely flooded during the Nor'easter.

"It was like two feet of water in there so everything was floating," Horsford explained. "The refrigerator was toppled over and the kitchen is a disaster area."

Horsford doesn't have flood insurance.

"It's pretty bad because we pretty much lost everything," said Horsford. "I guess we'll be starting anew."

The Governor and a handful of state and local officials pledged to help by asking for aid from FEMA. They're in the process of gathering damage estimates and expect to release the total amount of damages Monday or Tuesday.

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Quoting rareaire:
I have a bumper sticker on both my trucks press that says "stupid should hurt"

Any guesses on how many flood prone areas and beach front homes there would be if it really hurt?
Jesse
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I found a grapefruit size hailstone in about 6" of ice left on the ground by a storm in Sanford, FL around the first week in April 1982 I believe. The storm did not make it into the records, but it cleaned the glass out of a lot of vehicles, including mine. The windshield was on the front seat. It was a black cloud from the North, with horizontal hail and continuous CG lightning. It stripped the metal strips from a privacy chain link fence, and wrapped them all into a big tumbleweed. Dude came into the shop with a brand new convertible Trans-AM, looking to buy duct tape.
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I have a bumper sticker on both my trucks press that says "stupid should hurt"
Member Since: August 19, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 1601
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Is Nana lurking tonight?

Just finished watching a movie and SVU, if you're still here...what's up?
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If stupid was painful the world would be a lot smarter.
Jesse
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...too bad stupid isn't painful...
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628. beell
Core Punch - [Slang], a penetration by a vehicle into the heavy precipitation core of a thunderstorm.

Core punching is not a recommended procedure for storm spotting.

NOAA Technical Memorandum NWS SR-145
A COMPREHENSIVE GLOSSARY OF
WEATHER TERMS FOR STORM SPOTTERS


Guess it's ok if you are a chaser!

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Hail storm batters Darling Downs

Storm activity has eased across South East Queensland after lashing parts of the Darling Downs on Thursday evening.

The front, which produced heavy rainfall and large hail, moved in a line through Kingaroy, Boonah, Caboolture, Brisbane, Ipswich and the Gold Coast.

More than 30,000 homes lost power on Thursday but electricity providers say all but 5,000 have had their electricity restored.

Most of the homes without power are in the Ipswich region and the Lockyer Valley.

Weather Bureau senior forecaster Brian Rollstone says the township of Allora was battered by hail on Thursday afternoon.

"The intensity is weakening now and it is starting to drift toward the east and by the time this all gets to Brisbane it will be even weaker," he said.

"I think there's thundery rain on the coast there, much weaker again, so all the storms started on the ranges on the Darling Downs and it is only just getting onto the coast strip."

Local police Sergeant Bruce Willett says there have been no reports of damage.

"We ended up with a wave of hail across us and if left a layer of white across the ground, probably large marble size," he said.

"And then we had another wave come over but it was only pea-sized, so I spoke to the Clifton police officer before and he had an unconfirmed report from a fellow over at Killarney that they may have had some cricket ball-sized stuff this afternoon."

Earlier the Bureau was warning of the chance of flash flooding.

- ABC

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Quoting AussieStorm:


Parts of QLD had golf ball- baseball size this week in some server storms


Southern Qld counts cost of hail storms

The clean-up continues in southern Queensland after wild hail storms on the Darling Downs and Granite Belt yesterday.

Fruit and vegetable growers are facing big losses after small to medium-sized hail pelted their crops near Stanthorpe around 3:30pm yesterday.

Local resident Simon Butler says the hail storm was terrifying.

"Ballandean, Glen Aplin and Wallangarra all got big hail storms," Mr Butler said.

"It just came out of nowhere and really just hit. It was pretty bad. It dented the roof and shed and it did get a few dents in my car."

The owner of Ballandean Estate Wines, Angelo Puglisi, says about 25 per cent of his grape crop has been ruined, but says it is minor compared to the crop damage on other farms.

"We have got a bit of a hail damage," Mr Puglisi said. "There was quite a layer of hail on the ground and there is probably 25 per cent damage.

"Some of the stone fruit farmers copped it pretty badly.

"Those who weren't covered with hail nets copped it, and that's probably hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of stone fruit."

On the Darling Downs, the storms wreaked havoc at Dalby and Chinchilla.

Police say there was no hail, but winds gusts of more than 110 kilometres an hour brought down trees and powerlines and several homes had their roofs blown off.

- ABC
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624. beell
Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Amazing video...most I went through down here is marble size hail.


Kinda makes you wonder, for what ever reason, and there could have been many, these guys approached this storm from the wrong direction-as in "core punch".
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Quoting GeoffreyWPB:
Amazing video...most I went through down here is marble size hail.

Parts of QLD had golf ball- baseball size this week in some server storms
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Amazing video...most I went through down here is marble size hail.
Member Since: September 10, 2007 Posts: 0 Comments: 10986
621. beell
The "fun" starts at about the 2 minute mark.

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Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.

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