April 30, 2015

May-day: Severe weather to batter Gold Coast

Heavy rain totalling 200-400mm, damaging winds up to 90 km/h, dangerous surf with significant beach erosion, and tides 0.5m above normal are set to batter the Gold Coast and south-east Queensland on the first day of May 2015.

A Severe Weather Warning is in place, as a strong upper trough is set to move east into the south-eastern interior of Queensland on Friday and then will move off the southern coast during Saturday.

A surface trough will deepen near Fraser Island during Friday, with a low pressure system most likely developing and slipping southwards over southern Queensland waters during Friday evening and Saturday morning.

A moist wind flow to the south of the surface trough is expected to combine with the upper feature to generate heavy rain, which may lead to flash flooding, over areas southeast of about Hervey Bay to Taroom to Stanthorpe.


Whilst most of the rainfall so far today (Thursday) has been to the north, the Gold Coast is going to bear the brunt of the wild weather tomorrow.

Since 9am the highest rainfall so far today was 21mm at Stieglitz Wharf, 14mm at Pacific Pines and 11mm at both Tallebudgera Creek and Springbrook.

Traditionally the heaviest rain associated with an East Coast Low (and Tropical Lows and Cyclones) is towards the south and east of the actual low pressure system.

So whilst the low pressure system is expected to cross southern Queensland waters Friday evening and Saturday morning - the heaviest rainfall for the Gold Coast will come before that after midday Friday - with the following three hourly estimates* from 7pm tonight:

(*This is based on the Surfers Paradise location using the Bureau's Meteye data, where the lowest rainfall figure having a 50% chance of occurring, and the largest figure having a 10% chance)

Rainfall totals of 50-150 mm are forecast over inland catchments, with totals of 200-400 mm over coastal catchments, possibly more locally.

The heavy rain areas should contract southeast during Friday, gradually clearing the Gold Coast during Saturday morning.


As the low pressure system and associated offshore surface trough tracks south, strong to gale force winds with possible damaging gusts of up to 90km/h will develop after the heavy rain and now expected to peak around 5-6am Saturday morning.


The low will also most likely generate large swells as it slips southwards during Friday and early Saturday, with dangerous surf developing about Gold Coast beaches.

Water levels in these areas could exceed the highest tide of the year by around half a metre on Friday evening's high tide.

The dangerous surf conditions are likely to produce significant beach erosion for these areas during Friday and early Saturday.


A flood watch is in effect which includes all Gold Coast catchments (Nerang River, Coomera River, Albert River and Gold Coast creeks).

River level rises above the minor flood level are possible, particularly over the coastal catchments. Heavy rainfall may also lead to localised flash flooding.


The City of Gold Coast Disaster Management Unit is monitoring weather reports and everyone is urged to be aware of the likelihood of flash flooding.

With predicted heavy rainfall, roads may need to be closed. Information on road closures can be found at www.qldalert.com or 131940.

Severe weather and flash floods are a dangerous reality of coastal living.


If you do need assistance, here are some essential contact numbers
  • For any life threatening emergencies, call Triple Zero (000)
  • For assistance with flooding or storm emergencies, call the State Emergency Service (SES) on 132 500
  • For emergencies such as powerlines down, call Energex on 13 19 62
  • For loss of power supply, call Energex on 13 62 62
  • For issues with your water or sewerage service, call City of Gold Coast on 1300 000 928
  • For issues with local roads, stormwater or parks, call City of Gold Coast on 1300 465 326
  • For road closure information, call 13 19 40