Weather News

Storms sweep across southern Queensland bringing welcome rain to Gold Coast hinterland

By Lexy Hamilton-Smith and Rebecca Hyam, Tuesday September 17, 2019 - 19:39 EST
ABC licensed image
Storms on the BOM weather radar over the Gold Coast hinterland just before 4pm on Tuesday. - ABC licensed

Several storm cells have moved across Queensland's southern inland on Tuesday afternoon, bringing a small amount of rain and numerous lightning strikes across many areas, including existing fire grounds.



Fire authorities had been warned that wind gusts of up to 100 kilometres per hour could fan current bushfires.

But the real danger had been expected to come from high-voltage lightning strikes, which could set tinder-dry grazing land alight and create new spot fires.

Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecaster David Crock said the Scenic Rim "has had a good drink this evening in the storms".

"There's been a couple of totals over 10 millimetres around there, down around Lamington National Park where that most concerning fire is," he said.

"More broadly there's been some useful, welcome totals of rainfall right across South-East Queensland, from basically Brisbane all the way down to the border and into NSW as well.

"It's very welcome after a very long dry spell."

He said there had been numerous lightning strikes from the storms, but it was not clear if any new bushfires had been started.

"In general, there's probably been a little bit more rainfall than we expected with these storms, so the risk of dry lightning probably hasn't actually been that high in reality," he said.

"Nonetheless, there has been a lot of lightning around South-East Queensland today and tonight."

QFES had been concerned about a bushfire at Redbank Plains, west of Brisbane, which began when a ute crashed into a tree and sparked a blaze.

But by 3:45pm it said the fire was contained and posed no threat to property.

The driver of the ute was uninjured.

Then there was more

Mr Crock said the initial line of storms had died out relatively quickly and brought little or no rain.

But by 5:30pm, a second line of storms rolled west over the Downs toward Brisbane and the Gold Coast.



By 6:00pm, 6.4 millimetres of rain had been recorded at Beaudesert, west of the Gold Coast, and 6mm at Canungra.

Foxley, west of O'Reilly, recorded falls of 10mm.

"There is a chance on the forecast for the south-east on Thursday and also on Friday and into the weekend — wouldn't expect it to be as widespread as we've seen today, but some areas could get a little bit more rain over the coming days," Mr Crock said.

"Firefighting conditions should be reasonably favourable and definitely more so than they have been for the last week or two."

Aircraft on standby

Earlier, QFES Assistant Commissioner John Bolger said crews were "well set up" if the storms did start new fires.

"We've got water aircraft on standby, we've repositioned aircraft, we've replenished all those water tankers that we had out west in the Granite Belt, our firefighters are rested and we've got additional firefighters come in from interstate," he said.

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Assistant Commissioner Bolger said crews were still focused on a large bushfire which has been burning for more than a week in Sarabah on the Gold Coast.

"We've actually brought in some chainsaw specialists from Tasmania, New South Wales and even on from New Zealand just to help us get rid of some trees that are still alight," he said.



Extra fire crews have been sent into the Darling Downs and Granite Belt, which is still reeling from bushfires that burned through farmland last week, destroying at least four homes in Applethorpe and Stanthorpe.

Police confirmed no charges would be laid after it was discovered the blaze at Stanthorpe was accidentally started by backpackers.

Police said they were looking into how to make warnings available in multiple languages after the backpackers discarded ash from a fire outdoors during catastrophic fire conditions.



Over the weekend, 50 fires were still burning across the state, but an easing in conditions saw that number drop to 35 by Monday.

Chief Superintendent Reading said the Sarabah blazes in the Gold Coast hinterland were causing firefighters the greatest concern because they were burning in inaccessible valleys.

The Sarabah fires have already destroyed 11 homes and five businesses, including the historic Binna Burra Lodge.

Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said arson was suspected and that officers were closing in on the culprits thanks to tip-offs from locals.


- ABC

© ABC 2019

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