VIDEOS & PHOTOS: Oh hail, here we go again...

A SEVERE thunderstorm warning for the Sunshine Coast and Gympie regions has been cancelled for now.

The immediate threat of severe thunderstorms has passed, but the situation will continue to be monitored and further warnings will be issued if necessary.

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The mother of all hailstorms

CAMPERS huddled in their tents, car windscreens were smashed and motorists were forced off the road as the Sunshine Coast was bombarded by hailstones the size of tennis balls.

The vicious storm carved a trail of destruction through the central parts of the Coast shortly after lunchtime yesterday, with Sippy Downs, Buderim, Mooloolaba, Alexandra Headland and Maroochydore among the worst hit.

Nowhere was more affected than Cotton Tree, where campers at the caravan park spent 20 minutes dodging the large balls of ice and watching their vans and cars being pelted.

Among the campers was former Sunshine Coast councillor Keryn Jones who was holidaying with friends.

"When it started coming down, they (the hailstones) were huge," she said.

"Everyone just ran for cover and my friends were yelling and screaming.

"As we got under cover, they came through thicker and faster, and bigger ... they were close to tennis-ball size."

As most of Mrs Jones's friends were staying in tents, they sought refuge in her caravan.

"The noise was like gunshots," she said.

"They were bouncing when they hit the ground.

"In the street, people were crying ... people were in shock."

With another storm following close behind the first, Ms Jones said many people packed up and left the park.

A woman struck in the head by a large hailstone had to be treated by ambulance officers.

She suffered bleeding and bruising to the back of her head and was taken to a medical centre for further treatment.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued severe thunderstorm warnings for south-east Queensland about midday, warning of destructive winds and large hailstones.

The ferocity of the storm first became apparent when it hit the Mooloolah area.

Kathleen Branco, who has lived in Mooloolah for 23 years, said she had never seen hail so large.

"It was at least tennis-ball size," she said.

"There were ones down the hill, which looked bigger than what we picked up around the house.

"There's a divot in the ground where one came down and you can sit a tennis ball in it.

"On our veranda roof you can see the divots where it hit."

As the storm moved through, cars pulled over on the Sunshine Mwy and Bruce Hwy, with many seeking shelter under bridges and overpasses.

A five-vehicle crash on the Bruce Hwy at Palmview brought northbound traffic to a stand-still as far back as Caloundra Rd.

By last night, the SES had received 136 call-outs to leaking roofs and shattered windows.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Rick Threlfall said he could not rule out the possibility of more hail today, but it appeared the worst of it was yesterday.

"Hail looks less likely tomorrow (Sunday). There will be showers and the odd thunderstorm and more general rain as we get to the latter part of the day and into Monday," he said.

"There will be one or two storms around, but today was by far the worst."

The storm left Kawana Shoppingworld and more than 2300 homes in the Kawana area without power for several hours.


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