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Brisbane declared disaster zone -

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Brisbane declared disaster zone

Broadcast: 17/11/2008

Transcript

TONY JONES, PRESENTER: Brisbane has been declared a disaster zone and the Army's been called in to
help after the worst storm in 25 years tore through the city last night.

Tomorrow morning, the Prime Minister will tour the damaged areas after diverting his plane to the
Queensland capital following his North American visit.

This report from Melinda Nucifora.

MELINDA NUCIFORA, REPORTER: There was no calm after this storm.

LOCAL RESIDENT: It was terrifying. Absolutely terrifying.

MELINDA NUCIFORA: The severe thunderstorm tore through north western suburbs late yesterday. At the
height of the storm winds reached 125 kilometres per hour.

LINDSEY MURCHISON, RESIDENT: It just was pretty much white. And I noticed water coming in
everywhere, and then the window smashed through with roof tiles.

MELINDA NUCIFORA: Hail stones and flash flooding caused widespread damage. At Chermside on the
city's north a 20-year-old man drowned trying to take photos of the rising flood waters in this
drain. Rescuers were able to save his mate who was clinging to the grate over the drain.

There were more than 6,000 lightning strikes recorded.

MATT DARGUSCH, RESIDENT: It's something that's very hard to describe. It's like a scene out of
Poltergeist.

MELINDA NUCIFORA: The Gap in Brisbane's west was one of the hardest hit areas.

This is all that's left of one teenager's bedroom. The family had decided to take shelter
downstairs just before the roof and walls were ripped off.

Trees crashed into houses and cars. Streets were closed for most of the day as emergency service
crews tried to remove the debris.

Further south near Beaudesert, the village of Wonglebong was hit hard. Residents Tracey Nash and
Michael Spaniak say they and their baby

Hayden are lucky to be alive.

TRACEY NASH, STORM VICTIM: I had fears of us getting blown up with the roof and finding us
somewhere over at Beaudesert or even Rathdowney and not surviving. It was that freaky.

MELINDA NUCIFORA: The couple says the only safe place was the rented home's bathroom. The rain
drenched almost everything they owned.

Powerlines were brought down; more than 200,000 homes lost power.

MIKE SWANSON, ENERGEX: This has been probably the biggest event we've seen on the electricity power
system since, oh, gee, 1984, 1985.

MELINDA NUCIFORA: 700 Energex crews are working around the clock to repair the damage, but some
areas could remain without power until Wednesday.

MIKE SWANSON: Nothing could prepare you for the enormity of the sort of damage we're seeing over
the last 24 hours.

MELINDA NUCIFORA: Authorities will work through the night to repair homes before more wet weather
hits with storms forecast for Wednesday.

Melinda Nucifora, Lateline.