Violent thunderstorm hits Queensland with tennis ball-sized hail, 130 000 homes without power


A severe thunderstorm that hit the city of Brisbane, Queensland Sunday night (local time), February 11, 2018, left 130 000 homes without power, produced some 265 000 lightning strikes and dropped up to tennis ball-sized hail on the region. At least one person was injured after a lightning hit nearby home.

Heavy rain and winds up to 100 km/h (62 mph) smashed Brisbane around 19:00 local time Sunday, accompanied by up to tennis ball-sized hail that caused extensive damage and blanketed fields. The temperature dropped by 10 °C (18 °F) as the storm hit, from up to 38 °C (100.4 °F) to 28 °C (82.4 °F).

The storm downed numerous trees and more than 500 power lines at the height of the storm, leaving some 130 000 homes without power. On Monday morning, February 12, Logan City, south of Brisbane, still had more than 40 000 properties without electricity, Brisbane almost 7 000 and Redland City about 2 300.

The extreme weather event also caused some schools to close on Monday and a disruption to Brisbane and Sunshine Coast trains services due to power outages and failing radio communications.

Gusts of 111 km/h (69 mph) were recorded at Moreton Bay, 109 km/h (68 mph) at Redcliffe, 107 km/h (66 mph) in the Redlands district, and 90 km/h (56 mph) across Brisbane. 

One person was injured while taking a shower after lightning struck nearby his house in Ferny Grove in Brisbane's north-west Sunday afternoon. Queensland Ambulance said he suffered non-life-threatening injuries. "He is conscious and breathing, but suffering from leg pain."

A prolonged heatwave is currently affecting much of Queensland and parts of the Northern Territory and New South Wales. Some areas may see daytime temperatures close to 10 °C (18 °F) above average for this time of year, and it will continue until Friday.

The heat will move slightly further north from Thursday, with no cool air coming up behind it until Friday, when a ridge does build in the south and pushes up some cooler air. This air will continue to push through the State and bring some relief from the heat, though temperatures do remain above average.

"To add to the heat, we're also seeing an increase in humidity across the eastern districts, which will exacerbate the already uncomfortable conditions. Sea breezes along the coast will keep the temperatures down, but unfortunately bring up the humidity," BOM said.

Featured image: Thunderstorm over Brisbane, Queensland on February 11, 2018. Credit: seán @sfrsr91


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