As bushfires continue to burn across parts of Queensland and New South Wales states, some much-needed rain has been working its way along eastern coasts.
On Wednesday night, Brisbane picked up more than 100 millimetres (about 4 inches) of rain, with 130mm (about 5 inches) falling in East Brisbane, 112mm (4.4 inches) of that in just one hour. The average rainfall for Brisbane in December is 116mm (4.6 inches) for the entire month.
The rain was accompanied by strong winds and about 29,000 homes lost power as the storm hit. Lightning strikes were fast and frequent, with 208,000 reported.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services duty manager Brett Finnis said crews responded to more than 100 calls for assistance, mostly for minor flooding and electrical issues. About 70 calls were made to the State Emergency Service, mostly for roof damage.
Flash-flooding in some areas of the city took many drivers by surprise, with several calls to the emergency services for help, but no injuries were reported.
Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) senior forecaster Michael Knepp said Wednesday night’s rain was mostly localised, with parts of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast missing out.
Golf ball-size hail was recorded east of Warwick and some at Applethorpe, before the thunderstorm cell tracked towards Brisbane. Amberley, Archerfield and Brisbane airports recorded wind gusts of between 60 and 70 km/hour.
Knepp said, ”I have no doubt there were stronger wind gusts than that in our area.”
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 missed the region’s dams.
“Storm King Dam at Stanthorpe, unfortunately, we’ve had no overnight change in the level there. 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,” said Mckenzie.
The town of Stanthorpe is due to run out of water this month, while supplies in Warwick are expected to last until next year.
There is more rain on the way in the coming days and the BoM has warned that any severe thunderstorms could lead to flash flooding, with parts of the Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and the Southern Downs expected to be impacted.
More than two-thirds of Queensland is now officially in drought, with only northern parts of the state and Brisbane drought-free, so any rain is welcome.