Weather News

Severe thunderstorm outbreak in the outback

Ben Domensino, Friday September 18, 2020 - 14:19 EST

Severe thunderstorms will develop over outback areas of South Australia, Queensland, NSW, and Victoria during the next two days, with heavy rain, large hail, destructive wind, and tornadoes all possible.

Image credit: @henrybrosiusphotography

A cut-off upper-level low pressure system interacting with a stream of warm and moisture-laden air from the tropics will produce a volatile mix of weather in central Australia between now and Sunday.

Early on Friday afternoon, thunderstorms were already developing over South Australia’s Pastoral districts and southwest Queensland. These storms will become more intense and widespread during Friday afternoon and evening, likely extending from western Queensland down through northern and central districts of South Australia and far northwest NSW. 

Image: Forecast accumulated rainfall on Sunday, according to the ECMWF-HRES model.

The most intense thunderstorms on Friday are likely to occur over southwestern Queensland and the northeast of South Australia. Heavy rain, damaging winds and large hail are all possible in this area, with supercell thunderstorms also a chance.

The atmosphere will be unstable enough for thunderstorms to persist through Friday night into Saturday morning in some areas. This will help kickstart a broad area of rain and thunderstorms that will spread over central and eastern districts of South Australia, northwest Victoria, far western NSW and western Queensland during Saturday. Severe thunderstorms are likely in parts of all four states on Saturday, particularly in the afternoon and early evening. Once again, supercells are also a good chance in some areas, particularly in southwest Queensland, where destructive winds and even tornadoes can’t be ruled out. 

Image: Forecast accumulated rainfall on Satruday, according to the ECMWF-HRES model.

Rain and thunderstorms will continue to spread further east across Victoria, NSW, and southern Queensland on Sunday. While some places could see severe thunderstorms, Sunday will generally be less active in terms of storms than the previous two days.

Check the latest severe thunderstorm warnings for the most up-to-date information on where storms are developing during the next few days.

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