Weather News

Parts of central Queensland pummelled by hail as severe storms continue in the south-east

Wednesday October 20, 2021 - 10:35 AEDT
ABC image
The BOM said "a particularly intense cell" went over Biloela, dropping 23 millimetres of rain in just 15 minutes. - ABC

More intense storms have hammered parts of central Queensland this afternoon, again bringing reports of giant hail, fast-paced winds and localised heavy rain.

There are severe thunderstorm warnings for damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall for parts of the†Southern Downs, Darling Downs, Granite Belt and south-east coast districts.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM)†said affected areas included Warwick, Ipswich, Jimboomba,†Lowood, Logan, Mount Tamborine, Redland City,†Cleveland and Brisbane.

The BOM said the severe storms might†also lead to flash flooding in those areas.

Earlier today, the BOM said hail and wind gusts of more than 120 kilometres per hour were recorded near Mackay.

The BOM also said 6cm-sized hail was observed near Mackay and 3cm hail at Mount Morgan this afternoon.

More than 120,000 lightning strikes were recorded in the Mackay area, according to Ergon and nearly 10,000 homes†left without power along the central coast, primarily between McEwens Beach and Bucasia near Mackay.

There have been reports of downed power lines, with houses in the worst-hit areas expected to be without power for the rest of the evening.

Melina Contor was on the school pick-up run when she saw a car get hit by a trampoline propelled by the destructive winds at an intersection along the Bruce Highway at Ooralea in Mackay.

"A lady stopped at the lights got collected by a very large trampoline ? it had blown three lanes across the highway," she said.

"I've got a medium-sized SUV and the wind was shaking my car."

Ms Contor stopped to help the driver and the trampoline was taken out of the way.

The BOM said it recorded wind gusts of up to 120 kilometres per hour at Mackay Airport at 2:45pm.

North Queensland Airports CEO Richard Barker said the 120kph winds at Mackay airport were the fastest in the 14 years they have been recording.

While larger planes were mostly unaffected and scheduled flights were still operating, Mr Barker said there had been some damage to unsecured small aircraft.

"The owners of two small aircraft will be quite upset, because one of them is upside-down on top of the other," he said.

"It may well have been the case that the owners of these small aircraft simply couldn't get down there [in time to secure them]."

BOM forecaster Felim Hanniffy said the atmosphere had been primed by a "moist trough sitting around inland areas and a coastal trough as well around the Capricornia and Central Coast".

He said that was compounded by "quite [an] established" and "slow-moving upper feature" that was escalating the activity with the tough.

Coastally, the central coast and Capricornia had been the focal point of the activity this afternoon.

Mr Hanniffy said the risk should "ease off into the evening" in central parts of the state, but there could be "storms rumbling away for a little bit longer in parts of the south-east".

The storms in the south-east would be "more your normal severe storms" due to their proximity to the upper feature, Mr Hanniffy said.

The BOM said 45mm of rain was recorded in one hour at Mt Alford, near Boonah in south-east Queensland.

Some storms affecting parts of New South Wales could cross the border later tonight.

"You could get some more activity developing on the Northern Tablelands in New South Wales, over the Northern Rivers and coming up over the Border Ranges later tonight that could be pretty active," he said.

While lasting rain has not been a significant factor in these storms, Mr Hanniffy said† ?a particularly intense cell? went over Biloela, dropping 23 millimetres of rain in just 15 minutes and reports of giant hail.

People in Rockhampton's CBD rushed to move†cars under†cover as smaill hail hit the city.


© ABC 2021

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