Weather News

Brisbane weather relief as storm brings six months' worth of rain in one night

By Melanie Vujkovic and Halina Baczkowski, Thursday December 12, 2019 - 17:55 EDT
ABC licensed image
Hail was recorded at the Queensland-New South Wales border. - ABC licensed

Brisbane's overnight rainfall has equalled what it has received in the last six months, with a major thunderstorm bringing more than 100 millimetres to some parts of the city.

East Brisbane had the biggest falls with 130mm — 112mm of that was recorded in one hour — while Brisbane city had 100mm.

Areas affected by drought also got a good soaking.

Elbow Valley, south of Warwick, recorded 62mm and while Toowoomba itself only recorded 11mm, areas east of the city got 54mm.

About 29,000 homes lost power and there were 208,000 lightning strikes.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services duty manager Brett Finnis said crews responded to more than 100 calls for assistance, mostly for alarms, minor flooding and electrical issues.

He said flash flooding in some areas of the city took many drivers by surprise, with nine calls for help, but no swift-water rescues were required.

"It was very rapid, the water, the volume of jobs we were being called to, it was essentially like flicking a light switch.

"It was quite the intense flurry of work, and it does signal for this season, as with the bushfires, there's something that's different this season."

About 70 calls were made to the State Emergency Service, mostly for roof damage.

More storms to come

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) meteorologist Jess Gardener said more storms were expected over the next couple of days, but the wet weather would not be sticking around for long.

A severe storm warning has been issued for six cells, four north of Brisbane and two in the Scenic Rim.

They are travelling in a north-east direction to impact Gympie, Somerset, Scenic Rim, South Burnett, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay Council Areas.

"We've got the chance of seeing severe storms again through the south-east so there is a chance through Brisbane, although a smaller chance than further west," Ms Gardener said.

"We'd expect those storms to form further west again then move slowly eastwards, probably losing their severe characteristics by the time they get to the coast."

"This whole system will start to move offshore over the next couple of days and we'll see this activity start to ease back through Saturday and Sunday."

While yesterday's totals were impressive, they had not changed the seasonal predictions.

"We have a decent chance of seeing below-average rainfall for much of Queensland," she said.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Knepp said the rain was mostly localised, with parts of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast missing out.

But golf-ball-sized hail was recorded east of Warwick, and some at Applethorpe, before the cell tracked towards Brisbane.

"It looks like maybe our seasons have switched from fire season to storm season," he said.

"The amount of rain we had last night in Brisbane, has equalled the amount of rain we have had in the last six months, and almost all of that fell in one hour."

Mr Knepp said gauges at Amberley, Archerfield and Brisbane airports recorded wind gusts of between 60 and 70 kilometres per hour.

"I have no doubt there were stronger wind gusts than that in our area," he said.

Small inflows into Leslie Dam

Although rainfall totals of more than 60mm were recorded in parts of the Granite Belt, Southern Downs Regional Council's Director of Infrastructure Services, Seren Mckenzie, said the rain had missed the region's dams.

"Storm King Dam at Stanthorpe unfortunately, we've had no overnight change in the level there," she said.

"In Leslie Dam, we've only seen a slight increase, not even a week's worth of water went into the dam."

"Hopefully there'll be a little bit more runoff from rain that occurs over Warwick."

The town of Stanthorpe is due to run out of water this month, while supplies in Warwick are expected to last until next year.

Ms Mckenzie said the rain had only added 32 megalitres of water to Leslie Dam.

Nicoleti Orchards at Pozieres near Stanthorpe received 17mm of rain.

Employee Curtis Allen said it was only enough for them not to water their crops for one day.

Average rainfall for the area is 800mm per year and this year they have only received 200mm. One of the storage dams is completely dry.

Earlier this week the Queensland Government declared.

Eight shires and councils including the Fraser Coast, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gympie, Redlands, Gold Coast and Logan joined 37 other drought-declared local government areas.

More than two-thirds of Queensland is now officially in drought, with only northern parts of the state and Brisbane drought-free.


© ABC 2019

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