Millions of Australians are on alert for severe thunderstorms and flash flooding on Friday night as torrential rains continue to cause havoc across the east coast.
One man died in rising floodwaters at Hibernia, near Rockhampton in central Queensland on Friday morning.
Thousands of residents living in low-lying areas along the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system in North Richmond, north-west of Sydney are meanwhile on a knife-edge with the city’s Warragamba Dam due to break its banks overnight.
Dozens of severe thunderstorm and flood warnings were issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for northern and southeast Queensland and NSW on Friday evening.
The BoM warned damaging slow-moving thunderstorms were detected west of Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast.
Weather warnings have been issued for severe thunderstorms and flash flooding on Australia’s east coast as torrential rains continue to create havoc. Pictured is flooding in the Molong area in NSW’s central-west
The central west NSW town of Molong was underwater and facing a ‘volatile’ situation on Friday was fast-rising floodwaters
The storms were concentrated near Laidley, Gatton, Crows Nest, Border Ranges National Park, Moogerah and Hampton.
The weather service’s warning was directed at hundreds of thousands of people in Ipswich, the Scenic Rim, Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley council areas.
The alert warned of ‘heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding.’
Forest Hill, between Toowoomba and Brisbane, recorded 79mm of rain in just three hours on Friday afternoon.
The Bureau of Meteorology says the continued downpour has led to one of the wettest Novembers on record with widespread flooding across the eastern states.
The NSW State Emergency Services said it responded to more than 3,000 calls on Friday, following flooding near Orange and Newcastle.
Orange had its highest monthly rainfall since records began in 1870 with a total of 243.2mm recorded by Tuesday.
On Friday evening multiple flood warnings were also issued across regional NSW, which had already been been hit hard with raging floodwaters at Scone, Inverell and Gunnedah.
Weather charts on Friday evening showed Australia’s eastern states bathed in blue indicating rain and flooding, with thunderstorms also forecast
A band of thunderstorms just west of the Gold Coast and Brisbane were threatening severe thunderstorms on Friday evening
Flooding at Gungal in the Upper Hunter Valley was captured in dramatic footage
The new warnings on Friday evening included the Macquarie River at Bathurst; the Belubula River at Canowindra; the Peel River at Tamworth; the Namoi river system at Gunnedah, Narrabri and Wee Waa; the Castlereagh River at Gilgandra and the Queanbeyan river near Canberra.
The BoM reported dozens of east coast towns and cities copping over 100 milimetres of rain in just two days.
Canberra has already had its wettest ever November with 148mm and Bundaberg was hammered with 192mm.
Conditions are not expected to ease until the weekend with coastal NSW to cop the worst of the storms.
Warragamba, which supplies the majority of Sydney’s water, is currently at 99.6 per cent capacity and set to burst on Friday evening
Pictured: Maroon Dam in Queensland’s south-east. The BoM on Friday warned damaging slow-moving thunderstorms were detected west of Brisbane, Logan and the Gold Coast
The rain bomb drenching Sydney filled the city’s largest dam to capacity, reaching 100 per cent full by 7pm.
Warragamba Dam, which supplies the majority of Sydney’s water, was predicted to spill over by midnight Friday.
Residents living downstream in suburbs such as Richmond and Windsor are being urged to remain vigilant in case water spilling from the dam causes the Hawkesbury-Nepean river system to break its banks.
There could be ‘downstream impacts’ from release of excess water, said WaterNSW, the body responsible for the dam.
The spill could peak at 100 gigalitres on Saturday.
Alerts were also posted early on Friday evening for ‘severe thunderstorms’ and ‘heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding’ for the NSW northern tablelands.
The tiny town of Wiangaree, about an hour south west of Tweed Heads could be near the epicentre of the dangerous storms, the weather office said.
The NSW weather office issued updates of a ‘volatile’ situation unfolding due to flooding at Molong, in the NSW central west.
The rains that pummelled the NSW central west and Hunter regions are headed north-east to Queensland
NSW Bureau of Meteorology reported fast-rising flood waters with reports of rescues underway at Molong.
Queensland’s far north was also warned of severe thunderstorms and heavy rain inland from the north tropical coast.
Locations which may be affected include Boonah, Rathdowney, Crows Nest, Esk, Gatton, Laidley and Lowood in the south, and Chillagoe and Mount Garnet in the north.
‘Unfortunately, this wet weather will continue for the rest of Friday and into the weekend,’ BoM senior meteorologist Jonathan How said.
‘We’ll see plenty of showers, storms, through eastern Victoria, Canberra, Sydney and Brisbane and the Gold Coast as well.’
heavy rain was continuing to fall across NSW and moving into Queensland on Friday evening
Heavy rain battered Sydney on Friday as a low pressure system moved in from the southern and western regions of the state.
The wild weather has already led to widespread flooding with drivers warned to keep off the roads and stay home.
‘Flooded roads and reduced visibility in heavy rain will make driving conditions dangerous during Friday in all suburbs,’ a Bureau of Meteorology alert stated.