Weather News

Queensland storms and showers bring more much needed rain to drought-affected areas

Friday January 17, 2020 - 21:21 EDT
ABC licensed image
Rain north-east of Chinchilla had empty dams overflowing in a few short hours. - ABC licensed

Widespread showers and storms have dumped more than 100 millimetres across parts of drought-stricken Queensland with severe thunderstorms continuing to sweep across large parts of the state.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said in its alert at 7:09pm that severe thunderstorms were rumbling over central and northern Queensland, with heavy rain over the state's south-east inland.

Storms are also possible for much of eastern Queensland and may produce damaging winds and heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding, including large hailstones, in Clermont, Proserpine, Charters Towers, Bowen, Townsville, Moranbah, Collinsville, Hamilton Island and Ayr.

Severe thunderstorms are also active in areas further south including Warwick, Toowoomba, Dalby, Kingaroy, Stanthorpe, Esk, Gatton, Laidley and Nanango.

The BOM also cancelled its separate severe thunderstorm warning at 8:10pm for South-East Queensland, for people in parts of Ipswich, Scenic Rim, Southern Downs and Lockyer Valley council areas.

BOM said 82mm was recorded in an hour at Mt Sylvia, south-east of Toowoomba, and 57mm was recorded in one hour at Spicers Peak.

The biggest falls over the 24 hours since 9:00am on Thursday were in the southern inland with Bawnduggie, north of Chinchilla, recording 150 millimetres.

Broadmere, north-west of Taroom, received 148mm, most of that in just two hours.

BOM said Jandowae on the Western Downs recorded 102mm and Mt Barney in the Scenic Rim had 112mm.

Senior forecaster Matthew Bass said they were pretty impressive rainfall figures.

"Under some of those thunderstorms there were some very large totals," he said.

"More rain is on the way in most areas south of Townsville.

"Heavy totals possible particularly over the Maranoa, Darling Downs and Central Highlands today and inland parts of the Burnett and south-east."

The forecast for Saturday includes severe storm warnings for the Herbert and Lower Burdekin districts.

Meteorologist Rosa Hoff said the bureau was expecting the wet weather to ease by the end of the weekend.

"This upper trough has been moving over South East Queensland and affecting central parts as well since yesterday and it is continuing to be slow-moving as it heads in today and over tomorrow," she said.

"We're expecting this shower and storm activity to ease from early Sunday morning."

Ms Hoff said while it was welcome, the rainfall was not enough to change drought conditions.

"This rainfall is certainly a step in the right direction for South East Queensland, however with very isolated high totals and generally patchy rainfall across the board, we haven't seen a strong response from rivers across the broad area," she said.

"Instead the majority of this rain is being soaked into the ground fairly quickly, because it's been quite dry in those areas for a long time.

"We haven't seen a significant impact on rivers, we've seen some local fluctuations in creeks, but unfortunately this isn't the wide-spread rainfall we need in the region and it hasn't been over a long-enough time."

Rural lobby group AgForce said the showers across parts of inland Queensland were far from drought breaking.

Head of AgForce's drought committee, Mark Collins, said the storms had been very patchy with his property south-west of Rockhampton getting very little.

"Listen we've had a few mill — 10 to 15mm — in a couple of falls. It's terribly patchy and some of our neighbours have only had 2mm. The best I've heard of is probably around that 40mm mark in one isolated fall."

Hopes wet weather will impact dam levels

A Sunwater spokesperson said while the wet weather was promising there had been no significant run-off into dam catchments yet.

"Sunwater is pleased some landholders in Queensland will be receiving water for their storages and that trees and the ground are getting wet," the spokesperson said.

"We remain hopeful these falls will have a positive impact on dam storage levels.

"We have not seen any significant run-off activity yet, but we continue to monitor conditions.

"Depending on the location, it can take a few days or more for catchment run-off to reach water storages.

"Considering the recent dry conditions, initial rainfall may be absorbed within the catchments. However, this initial rain also means further rain has a better chance of becoming catchment run-off, so any additional rain in coming days and weeks would be very beneficial."



© ABC 2020

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