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Pomona hit by savage torrents

Elm St Cooroy at the Six Mile Creek Bridge is cut by floodwaters damaging the road.
Elm St Cooroy at the Six Mile Creek Bridge is cut by floodwaters damaging the road. Geoff Potter

THERE were stunned looks on the faces of people walking the streets of Pomona on Saturday after a rain bomb blasted the town with more than 300m on Friday night.

In fact in a little over an hour just before midnight about 180mm assaulted the area - including Cooroy which was still in recovery mode from last Tuesday's storm. Daintree Way in Tewantin also copped a destructive deluge.

It was clear they were stunned by the destructive torrent in Pomona and for many it was a shocking awakening.

Chris Moore stepped out of bed and into knee-deep water in his School St home at about 1am.

"I got out of bed (and thought): 'Evacuate, we're sinking, get out'," Mr Moore said.

He helped his neighbours flee their flooding home and watched helplessly as the rushing water moved shipping containers across town. Cars bobbed in the torrent - all searched by rescue teams and found to have no one inside.

Timber by the tonne was strewn across the road at a timber supply company and sheets of corrugated iron were left wrapped around posts.

Reels of film were reportedly washed out of the Majestic Theatre and found in the grassy park behind the silent theatre.

The tranquil cul-de-sac at the end of Rifle St was the worst hit by the torrential rain on Friday night.

Mary Lehane was hard hit and left to deal with a mud-caked lounge room of her home which was submerged in murky floodwater on Friday night.

Everything on the ground floor was tossed about like it was inside a giant washing machine.

"Where do you start? I don't know, I could cry but that's not going to solve it. It's just heartbreaking," Ms Lehane said.

She had watched helplessly as furniture was flipped and most of it dumped in a corner of her home. There was no time to rescue any precious belongings, including some albums and framed family photos that were saturated or swept away.

"Within an hour and a half the doors all swung open, the back door burst and the water just came in," Ms Lehane said.

"And it would have been at least five, six foot (150-180cm) through the house and it turned every bit of furniture over.

"The water (sounded) like a jet going off - that's how fast and fierce it was."

Like most businesses on Factory St, almost 1m of water flooded Rockin Relics Antiques Barn.

"The bottom line is times are really tough at the moment for everyone - we don't need this," owner Clay Black said.

"This is probably the end of Factory St, I'd say. I can probably think of two or three businesses that won't be here anymore and that includes me as well."

Mayor Bob Abbot spent hours in the council's disaster control room and spoke with residents in Pomona.

"I think to a great degree we've been pretty lucky but there's still a lot of damage and a lot of work needs to be done," he said.

A layer of mud covered the cement slab underneath Anne-Marie van Boxmere's garage.The bottoms of boxes holding treasured photos and books were saturated by the rising water.

Her husband had boarded a plane to Vietnam the day before the deluge but friends were quick to help the Rifle St woman - a story repeated all over the town. Strangers offered whatever help they could, including traffic control.

"It's what you do for friends," one woman said.

Furious Pomona firefighters are again left to pick up the soggy pieces of their flooded headquarters after floodwaters raced through their shed destroying hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of equipment.

Leo Sorrensen has lived in Cooroy for 37 years and has never seen a downpour like it.

"It was just devastating," he said.

Mr Sorrensen described the rainfall as astronomical.

"We had about 12 inches (more than 300mm) in the last four days - six of those came in about four hours last night."

Six Mile Creek Bridge was badly hit by the flash flooding with giant slabs of bitumen ripped up.

Topics:  flooding pomona rain storm sunshine coast regional council weather


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