Environment

Thunderstorm brings more than half last month's rain in 10 minutes

A fleeting but heavy thunderstorm tore through the ACT on Thursday afternoon, with strong winds, hail, and a flash of heavy rain.

The Bureau of Meteorology said while some parts of the city received less, the highest rainfall of 23.8 millimetres was recorded at north Canberra's Woolshed Creek, most of which fell within 10 minutes between 3.30pm and 4pm. 

A lightning strike over Gungahlin on Thursday.
A lightning strike over Gungahlin on Thursday. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The amount was equivalent to 70 per cent of the 35 millimetres that fell in December. 

BOM forecaster Rebecca Kamitakahara said wind gusts at Canberra Airport peaked at 104km/hr, strong enough to break large branches off trees, blow over signs and remove roofing tiles.

Cars splashing through the deluge on Thursday afternoon.
Cars splashing through the deluge on Thursday afternoon. Photo: Rohan Thomson

The storm moved quickly at 50 km/hr. It caused the mercury to fall by  8 degrees.

The ACT State Emergency Service said it received 67 calls for help by 9.30pm.

However, there was no major damage or injuries, an ACT Emergency Services Agency spokesman said.

"They were minor incidents such as trees on roads; some trees over cars and houses," he said.

Heavy rain and lightning over Gungahlin.
Heavy rain and lightning over Gungahlin.  Photo: Rohan Thomson

"The most amount of calls that came through were for leaking tiles, tile damage, that type of thing."

Ms Kamitakahara said there was currently a "really moist and humid atmosphere" in the ACT and NSW.

"And that's because we have a low pressure trough over the western parts of the state and we have northerly winds leading into that, so it's quite a tropical air mass that's beginning to come down," she said.

When thunderstorms feed off this moisture in the air, they had the potential to produce intense, heavy bursts of rain. In this case, it also caused hail in some areas.

The tropical air is tipped to make the wet weather stick around through the weekend and potentially into next week.

Ms Kamitakahara said Friday and Saturday should see the heaviest showers, with up to 40 millimetres falling across the next week.

"But if there are thunderstorms that develop over the city those rainfall amounts could be significantly higher as we saw today," she said.

"But generally we are looking up to around 10 millimetres across the city on Friday."

If the BOM issues any more severe thunderstorm warnings over the next few days, residents are urged to seek shelter inside, stay in the strongest part of a building, and stay clear of windows, doors and skylights.

If driving, they are advised to stop the vehicle and stay well clear of powerlines, trees and waterways. Residents should also ensure pets are safe.

For emergency storm and flood help, call the ACT SES on 132 500.