Potentially devastating storms are forecast for central and far north Queensland as residents in the southeast continue to mop up after days of wild weather.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued its thunderstorm outlook for the state about midday today, warning towns between Port Douglas and Gladstone could be hammered with heavy rain, destructive winds and large hail before the end of the day.
The affected area also stretches west to Barcaldine, meaning the weather system could also bring some much-needed rain to the state’s parched interior.
Further south the bureau has issued a hazardous surf warning from Sunshine Coast beaches down to the Gold Coast today.
Surf and swell conditions are expected to reach around 4m high in some areas this weekend and will be dangerous for coastal activities such as rock fishing, boating and surfing.
Surf Life Saving Queensland has advised people to consider staying out of the water.
Sunshine Coast beaches at Kawana Waters, Marcoola, Maroochydore, Mudjimba, Peregian and Sunshine Beach have been closed.
Surf Life Saving Queensland duty officer Jack McNeil urged swimmers to follow instructions.
“At the start of the day all patrol captains were told it was their discretion, and those places have decided it isn’t the best place to be swimming,” he said.
“The lifesavers will of course be there but we ask people follow their instructions. We’re unsure at this stage if conditions are going to get any worse but there’s no sun on the horizon.”
The dangerous conditions are being caused by a combination of weather systems near Fraser Island, which will lead to “a long fetch of strong to gale force easterly winds, leading to large waves and surf over Gold Coast waters”, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
The weather has also disrupted sport and community events on the Gold Coast.
The races have been cancelled and the annual St Hilda’s school fete has been cancelled for the first time in eight years.
However, concerns about flooding down the Queensland coast from Gladstone to the Sunshine Coast have eased.
The Bureau says heavy rainfall in catchment areas has now eased and rises above minor flood levels are no longer expected.
Any further rainfall today is not expected to produce significant rises.
The BoM said the dry conditions of these catchment areas and prolonged period of little rainfall would act as a buffer for any significant run-off.
Boondooma, north of Kingaroy, received the heaviest falls since 9am yesterday morning, recording 209mm.
Noosa also received significant falls (157mm) in the past 24 hours as the Sunshine Coast recorded more than 200mm of rain in the past four days.
The tropics were also given some relief from a dry winter period with Townsville recording 35mm of rain overnight and Cairns about 12mm.
BoM forecast Chris Joseph said thunderstorms were likely to continue around the tropics, through the central interior, Central Highlands and northern Wide Bay districts today.
“For the southeast though and out to Toowoomba, we are just expecting rain today, no storms,” he said.
“We are expecting around 30 to 35mm for the Brisbane area.
“(Temperatures) are also well under the average for the southeast, about 5C to 6C below.”