Wild storms cut power in Tasmania as Queensland prepares for intense rainfall

Wild storms have cut power and forced schools to close in southern Tasmania, come Queensland prepares for intense rainfall and thunderstorms across parts of the state next week.

Nel Tasmania, a severe weather warning was in place on Friday morning for heavy rainfall and damaging winds across the state’s south and east, including Hobart.

Di 2,800 properties, all in the south, had lost power, while several radio stations were taken offline. About a dozen schools shut their doors for the day, the state’s education department said.

Winds reaching 109km/h were recorded at the summit of Hobart’s Kunanyi/Mt Wellington, while gusts up to 87km/h occurred in the city.

“We’ve had a very busy night,” SES acting director Leon Smith told ABC Hobart radio.

“The lightning and thunderstorm activity that came across the coast and Hobart (overnight) resulted in just under 100 calls (for assistance) within two hours.”

Areas in the south recorded more than 100mm of rain in the past 24 hours and several roads have been closed in the south due to flash flooding, with authorities urging people not to travel unnecessarily.

Meanwhile in Queensland, a predicted deluge early next week is expected to break rainfall records for the far north and west, which will bear the brunt of a potentially dangerous system bringing falls of up to 250mm.

The flood-battered south-east is expected to be spared the worst of the intense falls.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk urged residents to “lean forward” in the coming rain event with saturated catchments unlikely to cope, increasing the risk of flash flooding.

“We will be monitoring it very carefully,” the premier said on Friday.

“It’s very unusual to see this type of situation occurring in far north Queensland, especially this time of year which is usually near the end of the season.

“We are expecting higher rainfall totals than we’ve seen before in May.”

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster David Grant said Queensland’s intense rainfall was being triggered by a low-pressure system moving across the inland, which is “highly unusual” for this time of the year.

The showers and thunderstorm activity will increase in coming days and continue into next week, Grant said.

“We could see 100 to 200mm totals … in western and northern parts of the state.”

Grant said the average rainfall was about 10 to 20mm, so to receive a 100 to 200mm rainfall event in May was very rare for a lot of those locations.

The warning is unwelcome news for a state already smashed by months of rainfall that left a trail of devastation across Queensland, with flood waters claiming 14 vite.

It prompted police commissioner Katarina Carroll to urge extreme caution in the next week.

“We have had a number of tragedies out of the last events – some 14 people passed away,” the commissioner said.

“A lot of that was people driving through flood waters or being caught in flood waters obviously rising. Please do not drive through those flooded waters.”

The SES and the Bureau of Meteorology have warned residents in Hobart and the state’s south-east to prepare for more wild weather.

“There continues to be a particular risk of moderate flooding in the Huon River, however other areas should not be complacent,” SES acting director Leon Smith said.

“SES crews and local police have been out door-knocking residents, imprese, and caravan parks in the Huon area overnight to ensure they are prepared in the event of major flooding of the Huon River.

“All residents in the Huon Valley and other flood-prone areas are urged to remain vigilant and keep up to date by checking the BOM and SES websites.”

Minor and moderate flood warnings are in place for the South Esk River, Macquarie River, River Derwent, Jordan River, Coal River and Huon River.

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