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Easter drenching begins as Queensland coastal areas expected to be battered with wild weather

By Lia Walsh and staff, Sunday April 4, 2021 - 12:07 EST
ABC image
Kayleigh and Annie Lamond brave the wet weather in Bundaberg to enjoy their Easter holiday as severe weather warnings are issued across coastal parts. - ABC

Parts of Queensland are bracing for extreme weather overnight and into Easter Monday, with central and coastal regions already copping a drenching amid several wild weather warnings. 


The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a severe weather warning for parts of the Wide Bay, Burnett and south-east coast regions, stretching from Seventeen Seventy down to Bribie Island.


Heavy rainfall, damaging winds, big surf and large hail has been forecast to hit parts of the central and coastal areas, with a reprieve in the weather not expected until late on Tuesday.


It comes as the bureau has warned intense rainfall could lead to dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding in areas between Miriam Vale to the Sunshine Coast tonight and through to Monday.


Meanwhile in Queensland's central west, a severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for areas including Longreach, Isisford, Barcaldine, Stonehenge, Evesham Station and Ilfracombe. The bureau says damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfalls are about the region.


Conditions are expected to worsen overnight and further intensify into Easter Monday. 


Senior Meteorologist Lauren Boekel stressed "how serious this weather event could be for some people".


"For the end of the long weekend, south-east Queensland can expect to see some dangerous weather," Ms Boekel said.


"We're expecting to see [rainfall] totals between 120 and 160 millimetres."


Ms Boekel said within the regions expected to be hit, areas between Miriam Vale in Gladstone and Gympie would see the heaviest deluge.


"Intense rainfall ? up to 260mm in a six-hour period and damaging winds ? up to 90kilometres an hour." 


Meanwhile, Queensland's peak motoring body, RACQ, warned traffic was backed up on the Bruce Highway heading southbound as motorists braved the wet conditions to return from Easter holidays.


Big swells to pummel parts of coast


Dangerous surf conditions have already swept across the Sunshine Coast and are expected to move further south on Monday.


A hazardous surf warning was issued on Sunday for the Capricornia Coast and Fraser Island Coast, extending to Sunshine Coast waters on Monday and Gold Coast waters on Tuesday.


Surfers, swimmers, boaters and fishers have been warned to keep out of the water as large, dangerous swells pummel parts of the state's coastline.


"So that's damaging surf as well as costal erosion that we see when the waters are rough," Ms Boekel said.


She said flooding was also a risk in catchments around south-east Queensland that have already been inundated after major flood warnings were in place late last month.


A flood watch has been issued for St Laurence in the Isaac Region down to the New South Wales border, extending inland to the Darling Downs, with the bureau warning of potentially "life-threatening flash flooding" in parts.


"We might be seeing minor to moderate flooding and we might see some ? isolated areas of major flooding," Ms Boekel said.


Authorities have urged people against camping or travelling on the roads over the next 24 hours.


The Quinn family, from Logan, have decided to stay camping at Mudjimba on the Sunshine Coast, despite several weather warnings.


Leanne Quinn said they were happy to be away from home after the lockdown threatened to end their holiday before it began.


"We're going to stay put. We're here till Tuesday and I think we're just going home very wet if we decided to go home," Ms Quinn said.


"The rain is fairly steady at the moment. It's not inundating, so if it stays like this, hopefully we won't be too bad.


"We just kind of thought that if it got really, really bad, we'll just get in the car and sleep in the car."


Best rain to hit Bundaberg in years


Bundaberg Canegrowers director and farmer Dean Cayley said this bout of wet weather promised to be the best rain the region had seen in years. 


"Until now, we were looking at our fourth summer season where we haven't had decent rain," he said.


"My wife said, 'I haven't seen you have an Easter off in five years.'


"If we get a good winter in conjunction with this rainfall, it will add tonnes to the cane crop, which is a win-win for everybody."


SES rescue workers are on standby and sandbags are ready to be collected if needed.


It comes as the weather bureau warned the state was nearing the end of the severe weather season, with conditions expected to return to normal late on Tuesday.







- ABC

© ABC 2021

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