Severe storms to soak Aussies for days

Australia has been “lit up like a Christmas tree” by viscious thunderstorms, and there’s more rain to come with sopping wet conditions to last into next week. 
Australia has been ‘lit up like a Christmas tree’ by vicious thunderstorms.

Large parts of Australia inundated by thunderstorms will not get relief from the rain for up to a week, as wild and wet weather is here to stay.

The majority of eastern and Northern Australia, particularly in NSW and Queensland, has been plagued with wet weather since the beginning of the week, with no signs of easing over the weekend, according to Bureau of Meteorology senior meteorologist Angus Hines.

“In general it continues to be the eastern side of the country, which is going to cop the brunt of these storms, but we’ll gradually see a shift further south over the next few days, as thunderstorms will also move into Victoria, parts of South Australia and even Tasmania,” he said.

Storms/Wet Weather
Keep your umbrella on hand for the next week with no sign the rain will end in much of the country until Wednesday at the earliest. Picture: NCA NewsWire/Tertius Pickard

Some of the worst impacted regions have received upwards of 100mm of rain, led by North Queensland’s Georgetown, which was drenched with 140mm overnight and 113mm in just two hours.

In NSW, the town of Drake in the far north of the state received 105mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on Thursday.

The thunderstorms have also brought plenty of lightning, with the sheer number of strikes illuminating much of the eastern states, according to Weatherzone meteorologist Anthony Sharwood.

Thousands of lightning strikes were recorded across Australia on Wednesday. Photo: WeatherZone
Thousands of lightning strikes were recorded across Australia on Wednesday. Picture: Weatherzone

“The overall effect of so many storms is that the eastern half of Australia looks lit up like a Christmas tree on the radar image,” he said.

“If you use your imagination, the silver crosses which we use to show lightning strikes look a little like tinsel, while the wind direction arrows could pass for baubles on the branches of the tree.”

The torrential downpours will continue on Thursday and Friday and over the weekend throughout the central regions of the eastern states, according to Mr Hines.

“Within that severe thunderstorm region, any of those storms that develop and get large enough could dump out some heavy rainfall and the possibility of 50-100mm,” he said.

“The severe thunderstorm area for today, which is also the area where those most intense rainfall totals are likely to occur, includes central and southern Queensland, central and western NSW as well as the far east of South Australia.”

On Thursday, the storm activity will largely concentrate over central and western NSW, central and southern Queensland and parts of eastern South Australia.

“Lots of these areas also have the possibility of seeing severe thunderstorms today – there’s a chance of heavy rainfall with those severe storms or the possibility of damaging wind gusts as well,” Mr Hines said.

The thunderstorm risk zone will stretch along the entire east coast on Friday.

“We’re looking all the way from the north of Queensland and the Northern Territory, down through Central Queensland, down through central and western NSW into western Victoria and southern South Australia, with thunderstorms likely to affect all of those states,” Mr Hines said.

Storms will impact the majority of states while lightning will continue to cause havoc in the interior of the country on Saturday. Photo:
Storms will impact the majority of states, while lightning will continue to cause havoc in the interior of the country on Saturday. Photo:

The storm activity will then begin to push south from Saturday, with Sydney and Melbourne to be impacted by the wet weather across the weekend.

“Thunderstorm risk in NSW and Victoria will push a little more towards the east, which does mean some of those more populated places along the east coast are at slightly higher chance of seeing a thunderstorm on Saturday all the way from Sydney down right through towards Melbourne,” he said.

“And then on Sunday, we’ll continue with thunderstorms.”

Sydneysiders can expect wet and muggy weather over the next few days, with up to 10mm of rain to fall over the weekend and temperatures to reach 30C degrees on Sunday.

Up to 10mm of rain is expected to fall across Melbourne from the thunderstorms, with the mercury reaching 27C degrees on Saturday before dipping to a maximum of 19C on Sunday.

Meanwhile, Brisbane can expect a weekend that’s full of cloud but without a high risk of showers before the wet weather returns on Monday.

Despite the overcast conditions, Brisbane residents can expect temperatures in the high 20s across the weekend and into next week.

Bucking the wet trend is Western Australia’s south, with a record-breaking severe heatwave causing residents to sweat and bushfires to break out in Perth’s north.

Temperatures across the Perth metropolitan area are expected to remain 12-14C degrees above average, sending the mercury towards 40C on Thursday and Friday.

The high temperatures are expected to hang around over the weekend, reaching 38C on Saturday and Sunday before falling to 33C on Monday.

Temperatures should dip below 30C on Tuesday but will stay in the high 20Cs.

Persistent high temperatures are offering no relief to firefighters working flat out to contain bushfires in Perth’s north, with an emergency warning level blaze burning over several hours on Thursday.