Thunderstorms and widespread showers are expected across Australia’s east coast this weekend, lashing communities already subject to flood warnings after a week of rain.
The wet conditions were expected to continue through the coming days, but the Bureau of Meteorology said an inland heatwave – beginning from Monday – was expected to spread across large parts of the country by the end of the week.
BoM senior meteorologist Sarah Scully said rain would continue to fall across Gippsland in Victoria on Saturday, where communities were facing flood threats.
Gippsland has faced days of flash flooding, with a major flood watch issued for the Avon and Thompson rivers.
There were moderate flood warnings in place for the Macalister, Mitchell and Snowy rivers on Sunday, with minor flood warnings for at least four other river systems across Victoria.
Flood waters were expected to cause some small Gippsland communities to be isolated over the weekend, but they were not believed to be at risk of flooding.
Scully said a separate thunderstorm event was forming on Saturday, which was expected to affect the southern interior and eastern New South Wales, and in north and north-east Victoria.
“There’s a potential for severe storms to develop about eastern Victoria … and also about south-eastern NSW, bringing heavy rainfall and damaging wind, and even the potential for large hail as well,” Scully said.
Some parts of Victoria were likely to record rainfalls of 100mm over the weekend.
By Sunday morning, the heavy showers were expected to contract into far east Gippsland and the New South Wales south coast.
Some parts of NSW’s south-east received more than 200mm of rain in the past few days, with two moderate flood warnings in place for the Snowy and Buchan rivers.
Meanwhile, severe thunderstorms were developing in the Illawarra on Saturday afternoon.
The BoM warned that a low pressure trough was bringing scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms to the region, likely to bring damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding over the afternoon.
Locations that may be affected include Nowra, Bowral, Albion Park and Nerriga.
Shane McBride, the duty officer for Victoria’s state emergency service, said crews received 59 requests for assistance in the 24 hours to 7am.
Most of these related to fallen trees, but there was also one water rescue overnight, he said.
The NSW SES has wrapped up the majority of its response to the recent thunderstorm event, spokesperson Jenni North said, with crews responding to more than 1500 incidents across the state.
North said a few incidents were coming through from storm-affected properties on the south coast, and crews are assisting with washed-out properties and damage assessments.
“All of our incident control centres that were set up and [the] additional resources, everything’s reverted back to normal levels now,” she said.
Showers and possible severe thunderstorms were expected over most of the Queensland on Saturday.
Scully said severe thunderstorms could bring damaging winds, large hail and heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding around the Wide Bay-Burnett coast.
Storms have also knocked down powerlines in the state’s south-east, leaving thousands without electricity overnight, government-owned provider Energex said.
More than 3,500 people remain without power as of 8.30am local time, with residents in the Sunshine Coast mostly affected.
From Monday, the weather is expected to shift into a more regular seasonal pattern, with scattered storms each day across the tropical north.
“But we’re not expecting to have those extensive storm activity forecast elsewhere [in the state],” Scully said.
From Monday, an outback heatwave will begin forming in parts of central Australia, spreading across large parts of the continent later in the week.
A heatwave map by the BoM suggets that, by Friday next week, “much of the continent [will be] affected by low intensity to severe heatwave conditions”, Scully said.
Source: The Guardian