January 26, 2013

SEQ braces for impact after wild Australia Day weather in Central QLD

100-125 km/h wind gusts and up to 300mm of rain are expected to impact areas of the Southeast Coast forecast district after a wild day of heavy falls and even tornadoes in the Wide Bay & Burnett region.

A broken trampoline is pictured on top of a power pole in the Bargara aftera tornado went through the Queensland town on January 26, 2013.
The coastal towns of Bargara, Burnett Heads and Coonar in Bundaberg were severely affected as destructive winds from tornado activity brought down powerlines, uprooted trees and ripped of roofs. Two people were also seriously injured when a tree fell on their vehicle during the wild conditions. (More information at the ABC News website)

"Dude, where's my car?" - Bargara resident Sandy Hortin with his car outside his Bargara home.
It was relatively a normal, rainy day here on the Gold Coast for Australia Day with regular showers and some wind. As at 10:13pm, rainfall totals since 9am where light along the coastal strip (around 10-25mm as shown by the blue dots in the image below) but where more substantial for the hinterland and beyond (from 25-100mm as shown in green and orange)

Rainfall from 9am (as at 10:13pm 26/01/13)

The latest Severe Weather Warning issued at 7:20pm still warns that radar imagery suggests the strong possibility of further tornado activity affecting areas through the Wide Bay and Burnett region, and the Bureau has even request to use the Standard Emergency Warning Signal before broadcasting the warning to the area.

For the Southeast Coast district including the Gold Coast, the warning states that we can expect:
  • damaging wind gusts of 110km/h expected to contract southwards into the Southeast Coast district during Sunday (north parts of Sunshine Coast & Darling Downs/Granite Belt tonight) 
  • destructive wind gusts in excess of 125km/h and tornadoes developing during Sunday (north parts of Sunshine Coast & Darling Downs/Granite Belt may experience tonight)
  • heavy rainfall may lead to flash flooding with six-hour accumulations in excess of 100mm likely, particularly during Sunday.
  • 24 hour rainfall accumulations in excess of 250mm are likely and could lead to rapid river and stream rises
  • morning tides on Sunday and Monday are likely to exceed highest tide level in coastal and island locations
  • exposed beaches will experience damaging waves and flooding of possible low-lying coastal areas
  • dangerous surf conditions with significant beach erosion.
Some flights into the Gold Coast Airport have already been cancelled by Virgin Australia and Qantas for tomorrow, and it's highly possible they'll be joined by other airlines as the day progresses.Additionally all Gold Coast beaches are closed for the long weekend, so don't even think about going for a swim!

A review of the latest computer generated Rainfall Forecast maps for Sunday shows an increase in the expected rainfall particularly in the southern areas of the Southeast including Gold Coast City and Scenic Rim with the 'purple' areas in the map below estimating possible falls of between 200-300mm, with other areas in darker and lighter blue estimating anywhere between 100-200mm.

South-East Queensland Rainfall Forecast for Sunday 27 January 2013
(Issued by Bureau of Meteorology on 26/01/13)
The Southport SES is providing sand-bags for residents if they feel they need to prepare for possible flash flooding and will be available from 8am on Sunday morning at 195 Queen Street, Southport. Some useful information on Severe Storms is included at the end of this post.
So tomorrow be prepared for some wild weather, stay indoors and don't attempt to drive or enter any flood waters. We'll be updating our Facebook page and Twitter account constantly during tomorrow with weather related information, otherwise tune your radio to ABC 91.7FM for official emergency information.

Severe Storms

The following information comes from the Gold Coast City Council's Community Disaster Guide:

Before a severe storm 

  • Ensure that your emergency plan is up-to-date and your emergency kit is ready
  • Check your insurance covers home and contents from the risk of storms
  • Check the roof and gutters are in good condition, clearing leaves and trim any tree branches
  • Ensure your yard is free of loose items like patio furniture and rubbish
  • Keep vehicles under cover

During a severe storm

  • Keep your emergency plan and emergency kit with you
  • Listen to the radio for information and updates
  • Don’t use the telephone
  • Stay inside and shelter away from doors and windows
  • If you need to shelter in the strongest part of your house, this is usually the bathroom, toilet or hallway
  • Have mattresses and blankets ready for extra protection

 After a severe storm

  • Listen to the radio for information and updates
  • Remain indoors until advised it is safe
  • Do not enter flood waters
  • If safe to go outside, carefully check your home for damage and make temporary repairs if needed
  • Keep away from damaged powerlines and fallen trees
  • Do not drink tap water unless safe to do so 
For storm and flood assistance contact the State Emergency Service on 132 500 and in a life-threatening emergency call triple zero (000).