A tropical cyclone heading towards Australia’s east coast will generate powerful waves likely to cause further damage to already eroded coastlines.
Cyclone Uesi, a category 2 system, is west of New Caledonia tracking southwest at about 110km/h. It will head towards the southeast Queensland coast before it weakens on Friday and continues towards the NSW north coast.
It is not forecast to reach the coast and will tend southeast towards New Zealand, but not before delivering heavy rain and large swells to southeast Queensland and northern NSW.
Gales with wind gusts up to 120 km/h are expected to develop about Lord Howe Island off the NSW coast on Thursday, the Bureau of Meteorology says.
Emergency flood warnings for Queensland
Rain generated from the Uesi system will follow days of flash-flooding in southeast Queensland resulting from a lingering upper trough producing showers and thunderstorms.
Parts of southeast Queensland remain on flood watch, with warnings for coastal catchments between Bundaberg and the NSW border.
Queensland’s southern inland is also bracing for significant rain, including Dalby which has flooded once in recent days and could flood again.
An emergency flood warning has been issued for people in a town west of Brisbane as severe storms threaten to dump up to 250mm of rain in the state’s southeast.
Jandowae Creek is expected to peak on Wednesday, potentially leading to major flooding in the town, the Western Downs Regional Council says.
Multiple roads have been cut by rising floodwaters and properties are likely to experience flooding.
"Residents are advised to secure their belongings, prepare to leave and warn neighbours," the alert states.
A severe storm warning has also been issued for an area stretching from Brisbane's bayside to the Gold Coast.
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued on Wednesday for northern NSW, with flash-flooding predicted for Lismore, Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Byron Bay, Ballina and Casino.
Heavy rain will return to Sydney on Wednesday night and Thursday with up to 100mm to fall in the region. The soaking follows approximately the 400-500mm of rain that fell along NSW coast on the weekend.
Waves could damage coastal homes
Large swells will move down the east coast as Cyclone Uesi tracks south, bringing four metre waves to some beaches, Joel Pippard, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, told Yahoo News Australia.
“Damaging surf and elevated tides – similar to what we saw last weekend might happen again.
“It’s a significant problem because the storms eroded a lot of sand last weekend.
“The waves could now possibly erode infrastructures,” he said, adding that waves could even reach the Gippsland area in Victoria.
Last weekend, massive storm waves combined with high tides eroded parts of Sydney’s northern beaches by “up to 25 metres”, placing multi-million dollar waterfront homes at risk.
Storms brought waves of up to six metres to the Collaroy-Narrabeen beachfront and similar conditions are expected this weekend.
Stockton beach, north of Newcastle, also suffered significant erosion last weekend. The City of Newcastle was forced to move three council owned holiday cabins at Stockton after hundreds of tonnes of sand was stripped from the beach.
Thousands still without power in NSW
More than 30,000 homes and businesses across northern Sydney and the Central Coast may remain powerless into the weekend, with forecast rainfall set to compound damage caused by heavy storms.
The NSW energy minister, meanwhile, has confirmed energy provider Ausgrid wants the Australian military to help clear storm debris.
"Their CEO (Richard Gross) raised it with me yesterday and of course I fully support it," NSW Energy Minster Matt Kean told Sky News on Wednesday.
Ausgrid confirmed it had asked all levels of government for assistance, particularly for tree-clearing services.
The NSW coast was drenched over the weekend, with up to 550mm of rain falling across parts of the northern rivers, Mid North Coast, Central Coast, Sydney, Blue Mountains and the Illawarra.
Ausgrid said power had been restored to 109,000 customers after "one of the worst storms to hit our network in the past 20 years", but about 31,000 customers remained without power at 7am on Wednesday.
Fewer than 1000 Endeavour Energy customers also remain powerless.
"Customers are being advised to prepare for outages into the weekend ... additional crews from Queensland, Victoria and South Australia are arriving to assist with the response," Ausgrid said in a statement.
Emergency services were on Tuesday left to clear fallen trees, remove debris and extract cars from floodwaters around the Harbour City.
The SES on Tuesday night said it had received some 12,951 requests for help since last Wednesday night, with 10,660 call-outs completed.
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