Rainfall overnight on Wednesday in Brisbane has equalled what it has received in the past six months, with a major thunderstorm bringing more than 100 millimetres to some parts of the city.
East Brisbane had the biggest falls with 130 millimetres – 112 millimetres of that recorded in one hour – while Brisbane city had 100 millimetres.
About 29,000 homes were left without power and there were 208,000 lightning strikes.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services duty manager of operation Brett Finnis said crews responded to more than 100 calls for assistance, mostly for alarms, minor-flooding and electrical issues.
He said flash flooding in some areas of the city took many drivers by surprise, with nine calls for help. No swift-water rescues were required.
“It was very rapid, the water, the volume of jobs we were being called to, it was essentially like flicking a light switch,” he said.
“It was quite the intense flurry of work, and it does signal for this season, as with the bushfires, there’s something that’s different this season.”
About 70 calls made to the State Emergency Service, mostly for roof damage.
More storms to come
Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Knepp said more storms could be on the way in coming days.
“It looks like maybe our seasons have switched from fire season to storm season,” he said.
“The amount of rain we had last night in Brisbane has equalled the amount of rain we have had in the past six months and almost all of that fell in one hour.”
He said the rain was mostly localised, with parts of the Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast missing out.
But golf-ball sized hail was recorded east of Warwick, and at Applethorpe, before the cell tracked towards Brisbane.
Mr Knepp said gauges at Amberley, Archerfield and Brisbane airports recorded wind gusts of 60-70km/h.
“I have no doubt there were stronger wind gusts than that in our area,” he said.
“Those three airports missed the strongest gusts, and I have no doubt there would have been some trees down in some areas.”
He said there could be more storms on Thursday, and possibly again on Friday depending on a southerly change.
“If [the southerly change] comes through early in the morning, it more than likely will be north of [Brisbane], but if it comes through in the afternoon we’re going to have another round of severe thunderstorms,” he said.
“Those storms today will be moving a little bit quicker … so we’ll see storms developing out to the west in the afternoon and they’re more likely to move through [Brisbane] just because they’re going to be moving a little bit quicker.
“Maybe not quite like we saw [on Wednesday night], but if we do get a super cell or two you can still see very intense rainfall in a very short period of time, so you could see 50 millimetres in 20 to 30 minutes.”
He said there was also a chance Saturday and Sunday could bring storms.
“There’s potential we could see five days of storms,” he said.
Earlier this week the Queensland government declared the majority of the state’s south-east was in drought.
Eight shires and councils – the Fraser Coast, Moreton Bay, Sunshine Coast, Noosa, Gympie, Redlands, Gold Coast and Logan – joined 37 other drought-declared local government areas.
More than two-thirds of Queensland is officially in drought, with only northern parts of the state and Brisbane drought-free.