March 4, 2024

Residents of New South Wales and Queensland have been warned to expect more severe weather on Boxing Day, with thunderstorms and rain forecast in many areas, while severe weather could also affect the first day of the Test against Pakistan at the Melbourne Cricket Ground threatened

Thousands of homes in south-east Queensland were still without power on Tuesday morning severe storms blew through on Christmas Day.

Unsettled weather conditions were expected to continue in NSW on Tuesday and Wednesday after large parts of the state experienced giant hail, heavy rainfall and flash flooding on Christmas Day, including in the central west, the Riverina, the south coast, Sydney, the central coast and the Hunter.

Sydney to Hobart were sailors warned to brace for turbulent conditions as thunderstorms and strong winds are forecast for Australia’s biggest boat race. The Bureau of Meteorology has predicted wild conditions for the yachts, including heavy rainfall, lightning, poor visibility and possible hail.

The state emergency service said volunteers responded to 312 incidents, on top of 492 recorded on Christmas Eve.

Residents at Grenfell were treated to something of a white Christmas as hail blanketed the town shortly after noon. NSW SES Assistant Commissioner Sean Kearns said there were numerous reports of property damage including “broken skylights, parts of roofs, broken windows and damaged vehicles”.

Hail was also seen in Orange and Yass, and on parts of the coast.

Parts of Sydney and the state’s south-east experienced heavy rain on Monday, with 156mm falling in three hours at Eurobadalla, causing localized flooding.

The SES teams carried out flood rescues at Albion Park, Kiama, the southern tablelands and Bemboka, near Bega.

In Queensland the Bureau of Meteorology said damaging winds, heavy rainfall and large hail were likely again on Tuesday between Mackay and the Sunshine Coast, and possibly south of Charters Towers.

Isolated to scattered showers and thunderstorms were also forecast across eastern, northern and far northern Queensland.

Severe heatwave conditions were expected to continue in the northern interior and northwest, with maximum temperatures above average.

Brisbane also had the chance of a severe thunderstorm, but could expect mostly showers, with a maximum temperature of 33C predicted.

In the far north, the cleaning and repair work after ex-tropical cyclone Jasper and severe flooding continue. Twelve houses were confirmed destroyed, 126 properties were seriously damaged and 554 moderately so.

Almost 9,000 residents received financial assistance payments.

Flood warnings remain in place for the Barcoo, Paroo and Burnett rivers, with a flood watch for parts of the Cape York Peninsula.

People visiting the north in the coming days have been advised to plan ahead as some roads are still blocked.

“Landslides north of the Daintree River have created at least 2,500 truckloads of debris that still need to be cleared,” said Douglas Shire Council’s acting chief executive Scott Mason.

“We encourage tourists and travelers to take extra care when driving in more rural areas and look out for fallen and loose vegetation.”

Sections of the Captain Cook Highway from Cairns to Mossman are still cut off, but access is available through Mareeba.


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