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Beaches evacuated after water spouts hit Bargara

Damien Haffenden took this picture of twin waterspouts along the coastline of Bargara.
Damien Haffenden took this picture of twin waterspouts along the coastline of Bargara.

TILES have been ripped from the roof of the Bundaberg Surf Life Saving Club after eight water spouts swept in off the coast of Bargara this morning.

Lifesaver Emily Pike was on the morning patrol when she saw the tornado-like spouts forming on the horizon.

"Initially there were two and then they kind of dissipated," she said.

But Miss Pike said soon there were four more headed straight for the shore.

"They were quite far off and they were just like a wind funnel," she said.

"In total there would have been eight, all at different times."

Veronica Pringle shared this picture of a waterspout at Bargara
Veronica Pringle shared this picture of a waterspout at Bargara

Miss Pike said a waterspout then formed out of the blue near the shark buoys, about 200m offshore.

"You could see it on the surface of the water," she said.

"As it got closer, it intensified."

Miss Pike said the patrol team quickly began evacuating about 10 swimmers and four surfers from the water.

"It was approaching slow enough to warn people and get them out of the water and then run for cover ourselves," she said.

"The beach was cleared - everyone ran for shelter."

Miss Pike said the waterspout passed by and went across through the caravan park.

"I don't think it did any damage there," she said.

"It did take a few tiles off the roof of the surf club and it snapped the TV aerial."

The beach was closed for about an hour, and was reopened about 11.30am.

Miss Pike, whose own Bargara home was damaged in the Australia Day tornadoes, said it had been a tense moment.

"I thought, 'you've got to be kidding'," she said.

"It was really nerve wracking. "It's cleared now."

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning on Sunday morning for coastal and hinterland areas between Gladstone and the Gold Coast.

Heavy rains of up to 200 mm, which could lead to flash flooding, are forecasted to pour down from Sunday night and into Monday.

Of that more than 100mm could fall within a six hour period.

Wivenhoe Dam releases will increase from 150 cubic metres per second to 280 cubic metres per second on Sunday afternoon to bring the dam level down ahead of heavy rainfall.

The dam is currently at 90% and Seqwater aims to bring the temporary full supply level down to 88%.

 

Topics:  bargara



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