Severe storm strikes southeast Queensland
Lightning strikes the high points in the Brisbane CBD. Photo: Steve Ketley.
Southeast Queenslanders are assessing the damage after the region was hit by severe thunderstorms for the second time on Saturday.
The Bureau of Meteorology cancelled its severe thunderstorm warning about 10.35pm on Saturday after a series of storms left a trail of damage across the southeast.
Shortly before 10.30pm, Energex reported more than 20,000 lightning strikes had been recorded in southeast Queensland since 7pm.
And almost 30,000 customers were without power at 10.50pm, with Brisbane residents the hardest hit.
As the clean-up continues, Emergency Management Queensland urged residents to beware of fallen powerlines and trees, avoid walking, riding or driving through floods and contact the State Emergency Service on 132 500 if they need urgent assistance.
Hours after Brisbane was plunged into near-darkness by a major storm with driving rain and high winds, another severe thunderstorm warning was issued for parts of southeast Queensland, including Brisbane.
By about 9pm, State Emergency Service workers had received 62 requests for help in Brisbane, and 31 in regional areas, most southwest of Brisbane.
A representative of the service said the fallout of the storms hadn't been quite as severe as anticipated across the state, although high winds in Brisbane and golf ball-size hail in Pittsworth had the potential to be particularly damaging.
See the most current warning on the BoM warning page.
Today's earlier storm hit at about 11am.
As Brisbane was bucketed by 10mm of rain in only 10 minutes, there were more than 11,000 lightning strikes across southeast Queensland and winds gusts reached 90 km/h, according to Energex.
About 11,000 homes and businesses in Brisbane, Ipswich and in the Somerset area lost power, with more than 100 fallen power lines reported across southeast Queensland.
There were ‘‘major delays’’ on all train lines as a result of power outages.
The Queensland State Emergency Service responded to more than 60 pleas for help, mostly from Brisbane residents asking for assistance with leaking roofs and fallen trees.
In Ann Street in the CBD, a hotel ceiling collapsed.
‘‘It turned day into night,’’ an SES worker said of the storm.
‘‘It came quickly and then it left.’’
Energex said with 100 crews out responding to calls, it had restored power to the majority of homes and business affected by outages by 3 pm.
By 6.30pm about 300 homes remained without power, with the majority of the outages continuing in the Algester area south of Brisbane.
An Energex spokeswoman said they were unsure as to when power would be returned to the area as the repairs were ‘‘complicated’’.
‘‘We are working through the problems and doing it as quickly as we can,’’ she said.
In Ipswich, a small grass fire was sparked when lightning struck a crane next to the city’s hospital just after 10am but the incoming rain extinguished it, a Department of Community Services (DCS) spokeswoman said.
The Bureau of Meterology said severe thunderstorms were also likely to produce damaging winds over the next few hours in parts of the Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West and Maranoa and Warrego districts.
BoM Queensland Regional Director Rob Webb warned of more severe storms to come.
"This event is a timely reminder of the fact that we are still yet to reach the peak of the storm season, and therefore we need to remain alert," he said.
Here’s how the earlier storms in Brisbane unfolded.
1.52PM: Translink reports train commuters should still expect ‘‘residual delays’’ of up to 30 minutes across the network as a result of the power outage caused by today’s storm.
And crews are still working to restore power to about 7600 homes including more than 6000 in the Brisbane City Council area, according to Energex.
More than 100 fallen powerlines in SEQ. Stay away, keep others away and call us on 13 19 62 to report the location. #bnestorm— Energex (@Energex) November 17, 2012
1.40PM: Brisbane was bucketed by 10mm of rain in only 10 minutes with winds gusting up to 70km/h during today’s severe thunderstorm, according to Rob Sharpe from Weatherzone.
‘‘The airport was even harder hit with 14mm of rain in 10 minutes and winds gusting to 85km/h,’’ he writes.
The mercury plunged seven degrees in 10 minutes as a result of the thunderstorm, with more than 4000 lightning strikes within 80km of Brisbane is less than two hours.
Severe thunderstorms remain a risk for Brisbane this afternoon.
1.25PM: The wild weather has caused flash flooding and uprooted trees across the Brisbane.
The Department of Community Safety has received 60 requests for help from residents in southeast Queensland, including 45 from the inner Brisbane area.
A spokeswoman said residents were seeking the State Emergency Service’s help with leaking roofs and fixing tarpaulins.
Emergency crews were also responding to two cases of collapsed ceilings - one in a building in Peel Street, South Brisbane and another at a hotel in Ann Street, in Brisbane’s CBD.
On the corner of Herschel and Roma streets, half of an 8m by 8m glass window has fallen on to the road and firefighters are on the scene.
1.21PM: Peta Tilse emailed to say that she and her son narrowly missed being hit by a tree in Lamington Street, New Farm that had been condemned by the local council and designated for removal in another three weeks.
"This tree came down in front of me and my son. Narrowly missed the car in front and us," she writes.
"Thankfully no one was parked in front. Other sign has been there to say the council knows the tree is sick and was going to remove in 21 days!"
See the photo in the attached gallery.
12.57PM: The damage reports are rolling in.
The Queensland Times reports a crane at the Ipswich Hospital construction site caught fire after it was struck by lightning.
Fire crews attend the Ipswich General Hospital, west of Brisbane, after smoke alarms were set off, and traced the fire to a crane on the roof of a hospital building.
The construction site was evacuated as firefighters checked the area using thermal imaging cameras, but hospital operations were not affected.
All persons on the site were accounted for.
12.46PM: More than 8000 homes are without power, according to Energex.
These include: 7770 in the Brisbane City Council area; 1293 in Ipswich City Council area; 233 in Scenic Rim Regional Council area; and 512 in the Somerset Regional Council area.
12.31PM: Energex crews are working to restore power to about 11,000 homes and businesses across the network.
12.16PM: The Bureau of Meterology has cancelled the severe thunderstorm warning for the southeast Queensland area, east of Dalby from Rainbow Beach to Stanthorpe).
But the situation will continue to be monitored.
12.12PM: Translink reports trains in the CBD area have resumed after the loss of power caused by the severe storm.
But customers should expect delays of up to 30 minutes across the network.
The affected services include: Airport; Gold Coast; Beenleigh; Ferny Grove; Shorncliffe; Cleveland; Doomben; Caboolture; Sunshine Coast; Ipswich/Rosewood; and Richlands.
11.45AM: The Bureau of Meteorology warns severe thunderstorms have been detected on weather radar near Cleveland and Mud Island at 11.35am.
The storms are still moving east and expected to hit Amity Point, southern Moreton Island and Tangalooma by 12:05 pm.
Damaging winds are likely, according to the bureau.
- A 90 km/h wind gust was recorded at Inner Beacon (Moreton Bay) at 11:24am.
- An 81 km/h wind gust was recorded at Brisbane Airport at 11:11am.
- A 70 km/h wind gust was recorded at Brisbane City at 10:54am.
11.21AM: Emergency Management Queensland has issued advice for residents in storm-affected areas:
- Move your car under cover or away from trees.
- Secure loose outdoor items.
- Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.
- Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
- Beware of fallen trees and powerlines.
- For emergency assistance contact the State Emergency Service on 132 500.
11.10AM: A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for southeast Queensland, including Brisbane City, Redland, North Stradbroke Island and parts of the Gold Coast, Logan and Moreton Bay areas.
Shortly before 11am, the Bureau of Meterology warned severe thunderstorms were detected on the radar near the Brisbane CBD, Logan City and Strathpine.
The thunderstorms are moving towards the east, with damaging winds expected.
If you have photographs of the storm, please send your pictures to firstname.lastname@example.org
- additional reporting AAP