Waiter sees three waterspouts off Hervey Bay
UPDATE: Three waterspouts popped up about 300-400m from the shore in Scarness from 1pm on Saturday, a waiter at a cafe on the Esplanade has reported.
Enzo's on the Beach waiter Tyson Stephens said he saw the first water spout about 1pm and the next one appeared about 5-10m to the left just as the first one was disappearing.
He saw the third one about 20 minutes later.
"They were only a spout for about 10-15 seconds," Mr Stephens said.
"It was just like a mini-tornado from a distance."
He said none of the waterspouts crossed the shore.
Mr Stephens said it all happened too fast for him to get his mobile phone out to take a photo.
It was raining lightly when he saw the first two waterspouts but heavily raining when he saw the third.
Mr Stephens said he had seen waterspouts before while working at the cafe - some at the start of the year and late last year.
Meteorologist Tony Wedd said he had heard reports of waterspouts but there was no way for the Bureau of Meteorology to independently confirm them.
"Waterspouts are really hard to predict - they come and go really quickly," he said.
"It's just a random thing that happens occasionally."
Mr Wedd said the Hervey Bay area had received up to 50 to 60mm of rainfall during the storms and residents should expect more stormy weather until at least mid-to-late next week.
EARLIER: A tree "blew to bits" and panels of iron fencing were blown high into a tree and powerlines during a storm in Torquay about lunchtime on Saturday.
Denmans Camp Rd resident Kathy Hargrave said her son saw lightning strike a tree which "blew to bits" sending branches flying past their double storey window.
She and her family think the lighting might have caused a wind force that blew panels of an iron fence high into the air which landed in powerlines, a tree and in yards along the street.
Mrs Hargrave said they were in a room on the top floor of their house when they heard a "really big whoof, like a force" which made them look out the window and they saw debris "exploding through the air".
"We saw all these sparks above this house (diagonally across the road on the corner of Denmans Camp Rd and Boat Harbour Dr) and next minute everything flying past the window - bits of branches and fencing," she said.
"A sheet of iron landed right behind our car."
Mrs Hargrave said to her knowledge no one was injured and it was lucky no one was walking along the street or driving past at the time.
She said about 10 panels of fencing and tree branches were sent flying after the storm struck.
Mrs Hargraves said the fire brigade and police arrived at the scene and police officers were picking up sheets of iron along the road.
She said police closed Denmans Camp Rd for some time due to the iron panel tangled in the powerlines which Ergon Energy workers removed with the help of a cherry picker.
Mrs Hargraves said her home didn't lose power and the traffic lights on the corner of Denmans Camp Rd and Boat Harbour Dr didn't go out.