There was high drama at the Emerald Airport last week when a severe afternoon thunderstorm swept through the town.
According to Emerald Airport Manager David Voss, the storm developed very quickly from the south-west.
‘The top wind gust recorded by the Bureau of Meteorology equipment at the airport was 113 km/h,’ he said.
‘Unfortunately, a light aircraft in the general aviation area was damaged when its tether straps broke and it flipped over.
‘A typical Cessna aircraft requires about 100 km/h of speed to generate lift to take off and the wind associated with the storm produced the same effect. Another aircraft moved about 45 degrees, but its straps held tight. Both aircraft were locally owned and insured.
‘There was also some water ingress into the terminal, some palm trees uprooted and some power outage during the storm.
‘The airport uses the UBIMET weather warning service that gives a lead time of about 20 minutes for storms that may affect the airport. The staff deployed all the pre-storm safety procedures, but because weather systems change so rapidly it wasn’t possible to predict just how severe the storm would be.’
Mr Voss said the response by council and security staff was swift and responsible.
‘The general aviation area was quickly cordoned off and checks made for oil and fuels spillage on the tarmac as well as any other damage and I conducted an investigation into the incident.
‘Aircraft engineers were in Emerald this week and the aircraft has been craned onto a truck and taken to Mackay for assessment and repair.’