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  • Renee Cluff

    Email Renee Cluff

    More wild weather forecast as Atherton counts the damage from yesterday’s hailstorm

    Atherton businesses that were forced to shut their doors after yesterday’s hail storm are preparing for another storm forecast for this afternoon.

    The Tablelands Regional Council is among those that suffered significant water damage to its properties during yesterday’s wild weather.

    It has been forced to close five buildings, including its main office and customer service centre, library and IT headquarters.

    CEO Justin Commons told Tropic Now the heavy hail blocked gutters, which meant water couldn’t drain off roofs.

    "Water got into the roof and ceilings and unfortunately, it doesn’t mix well with electricity or IT equipment.

    "One of the buildings on Mabel Street houses our IT equipment so we are without our core IT equipment needed to service the community so we’ve had to revert to the old way of doing things manually," he said.

    "We also don’t have phones but calls are being re-directed so we will get to them eventually."

    Mr Commons said it will take at least 24 to 48 hours for the buildings to be declared safe and normal services to resume.

    "There is concern that water may have got into those IT and electrical devices so until they’re checked we’re not certain.

    "We’ve had a lot of contractors that have come up from Cairns and potentially there’s a need to replace some equipment," he said.

    "A lot of the ceilings are likely to need to be replaced and some of the floors which are timber floors have also been damaged with the water as well.

    "It’s all going to add up but what the final cost is we just don’t know yet."

    The council is also clearing broken vases and flowers that were scattered through its cemeteries.

    Anyone with concerns about tributes on a loved one’s grave is being asked to visit the cemetary to check.

    The Atherton Square Shopping Centre re-opened late this morning, after also sustaining significant water damage, particularly in the Woolworths supermarket.

    Butcher Adam Henry from Tablelands Top Meats told Tropic Now the whole centre was closed down at around 3pm.

    “We had a bit of water coming through our roof and leaking through the shop but it wasn’t too bad.

    “This morning, they wouldn’t open the centre because there was debris through the arcade,” he said.

    Mr Henry's main concern was the power outage, which lasted well into the late hours of the night.

    “We had no power almost all night so it was a mission with all the stock here.

    “Our big cold room is fine, it holds the temperature very well but we lost all our product in the display cabinet," he said.

    “I was doing the insurance papers this morning and I don’t even want to know what it adds up to.”

    Another, non-severe storm is forecast for this afternoon.

    Tablelands Regional Council CEO Justin Commons said it’s planning for the worst.

    “We’re trying to put some preparatory things in place such as pumps and we’re further waterproofing our buildings and IT servers.

    “But the risks shouldn’t be as large as yesterday.”