Stormy times in QLD
Tue 20 Feb 2018
For over a week, thunderstorms, often severe, have been part of life in much of coastal QLD and nearby areas. These have brought large hail, such as these 4 to 8cm monsters south of Ipswich on 15 February [Katja Lindemann via Anthony Cornelius], damaging wind gusts, such as 113km/h at Blackwater (17th) and 115km/h at Cloncurry (19th), and frequent and spectacular lightning shows (15th)[Higgins Storm Chasing]. Slow-moving storms have resulted in very heavy rainfall, such as 49mm in 30 minutes at Tenthill, near Laidley, (19th).
The stormy weather came to a head on 20 February. An upper low west of Rockhampton provided instability over much of the state while drawing in warm very humid air. At the same time, much cooler air moving up from the south began to undercut this, adding further rain and storm-producing uplift. Storms ahead of this change developed during the afternoon, moving through central areas and climaxing on the Central Highlands where ABC News reported wind gusts to 104km/h at Moranbah, 150km SW of Mackay, caused major damage. ABC News also reported that storms elsewhere dropped 8cm hail at Clermont, ripped part of the roof off Mt Isa Hospital, and blacked out 30,000 properties in an area from Moranbah to Gordonvale, 20km S of Cairns, and west to Hughenden.
Townsville suffered both an early morning storm and another one late evening. These brought down powerlines and some very large trees [Oz Cyclone Chasers] and gave torrential rain near the city, with 87mm over two hours at Giru and 72 in one hour at Toolakea.
The general track of rain-producing storms can be seen in the 24-hour BoM rainfall map to 0900 EST on 21 February. Many stations from the Maranoa through the Central Highlands and Central Coast to the Townsville area recorded between 50 and 100mm with a few exceeding 100mm. The most noteworthy by far was 159.8mm at Injune Post Office in the Maranoa, its wettest February day in 93 years of records and nearly 50% above its previous record of 107.7 set in 1937. Farther east, Brovinia, SW of Gayndah, recorded 81mm in just one hour to 1000 EST. Also of note was the dramatic temperature drop in southern QLD. Roma recorded 39.7° on the 19th but during daylight hours on the 20th, the mercury failed to get out of the teens thanks to cloud, chilly air outflow under thunderstorms and the passage of the cooler trough.
Dust storm hits Charleville Tue 20 Feb 2018 - As the cool change that brought widespread thunderstorms to QLD arrived in the dry, dusty southwest of the state, it swept up a massive dust storm along its leading edge. This hit a broad area centred on Charleville early afternoon 20 February as part of a dry thunderstorm. Wind peaked at 96km/h at the Airport. It caused some damage, with Police Inspector Grant Marcus telling ABC News the town was damaged, with parts of roofs ripped off and signs torn down. "So far I haven't spoken to anyone who's seen anything as unusual or significant as this in the way of dust storms. It's not unusual to get them out here, you do get them occasionally but it's quite a significant one and it's been lasting for a considerable amount of time," he said.
Higgins Storm Chasing contributions showed how impressive the storm looked as it approached Cooladdi, 80km WSW of Charleville and from a car driving into it near Charleville, while this was the scene in the town itself. [Also see the Guardian and 7 News.]
For information on annotations (*, †, etc), attributions, and translation using your browser, go here