Queenslanders told to seek shelter as severe storms bear down

Severe thunderstorms are bearing down on Brisbane and much of Queensland’s south east, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.

Destructive winds and rains have been predicted as the “very dangerous thunderstorms” arrive at Esk, Lake Wivenhoe, Fernvale, Mount Nebo and the D’Aguilar Ranges areas by about 10.55am AEST, the weather warning said.

Winds, flash flooding and large hail stones could cause significant damage.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services has warned people to move their cars under cover and away from trees, to secure loose items and to always avoid driving, walking or riding through floodwaters.

The public has also been urged to seek shelter indoors or away from trees, to avoid using telephones during the storm and to beware of fallen trees and power lines.

A massive thunderstorm over central western NSW brought heavy rains and strong winds to the city of Dubbo on Monday. Source: AAP

Storm warnings are also in place for the state’s coastal south east areas.

The warnings come after eastern NSW was also told to expect more severe thunderstorms after a heavy drenching overnight.

Tuesday's storms may lead to flash flooding for people in the state's northwest and central areas, the Hunter, Central Coast and Sydney, particularly in the Blue Mountains regions, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.

Hailstones that fell over Coonamble in the NSW Central West on Monday. Source: 7 News

It's issued a severe thunderstorm warning for heavy rainfall and damaging winds for those areas, with Armidale, Orange, Tamworth, Moree, Dubbo and Parkes expected to be the worst hit.

The forecast comes after the wild weather dumped hailstones the size of golf balls to some parts of the state's central west late on Monday, as a low-pressure system made its way towards Queensland.

'It's snowing in dubbo!' Alberto Donato wrote on Facebook. Source: Facebook

Dubbo bore the brunt of the storm, with more than 69mm of rain dumped in the area.

The State Emergency Service said it received 150 calls for help statewide, while several properties, including the Charles Sturt University campus, were shut down due to water damage.

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The storm cell is expected to bring up to 40mm of rain to parts of Sydney on Tuesday.

"While there is a risk of a super cell thunderstorm, that decreases overnight," bureau forecaster Rebecca Kamitakahara said.

The calm before the storm: the iconic Sydney Opera House on Monday morning before the rain moved in. Picture: Sunrise

A better Monday morning than most for those in Sydney. Picture: Sunrise

"They are still predicted to bring destructive winds however," Ms Kamitakahara said, adding that the central and north-west slops and plains are most at risk.

The SES has warned people to prepare for the stormy conditions by clearing drain pipes and gutters, keeping at least eight metres away from fallen power lines, unplugging computers and appliances during the storm and staying indoors.

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