CLOSING IN: Furious storm, hail less than hour from Gympie
A LINE of fierce storms with winds gusting to 70kmh and large hail was tracking quickly towards Gympie. At 4.05pm the Bureau of Meteorology said the storm front would reach this region within the next two hours. Winds to 57kmh were already blowing at Sunshine Coast Airport. Forecaster Kimba Wong said gusts to 70kmh had been recorded at Redcliffe and Cape Moreton. The system was already battering parts of Brisbane and the Gold Coast with recorded along the Granite Belt and in Toowoomba. "We're expecting damaging winds and hail for the Sunshine Coast," Ms Wong said. "Heavy rainfall and flash flooding were less likely." The wild conditions would ease overnight as the trough pushed through in the early hours of Friday. But Ms Wong said conditions would still be fresh.
Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds and large hailstones in the warning area over the next several hours.
Locations which may be affected include Warwick, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Dalby, Maroochydore, Gympie, Emerald, Ipswich, Kingaroy, Coolangatta, Stanthorpe, Caboolture, Cleveland, Gatton and Jimboomba.
Severe thunderstorms are no longer occurring in the Maranoa and Warrego district and the warning for this district is cancelled.
Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should:
* Move your car under cover or away from trees.
* Secure loose outdoor items.
* Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.
* Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
* Beware of fallen trees and powerlines.
* For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.
EARLIER: The Bureau of Meteorology has just issued a severe storm warning for parts of the Gympie region, including the Mary Valley and South Burnett.
The warning has been issued for people on the Southeast Coast and parts of Central Highlands and Coalfields, Capricornia, Wide Bay and Burnett, Maranoa and Warrego and Darling Downs and Granite Belt Forecast Districts.
The expected area affected by the severe storms which are making their way from the west towards the Gympie region, Mary Valley and South Burnett, has been expanded from the earlier warning to include more parts of the region.
Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds and large hailstones in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Warwick, Toowoomba, Dalby, Emerald, Ipswich, Kingaroy, Stanthorpe, Gatton, Jimboomba, Lowood, Mount Tamborine and Nanango.
At 3:19 pm a separate, more detailed Severe Thunderstorm Warning was current for the Southeast Queensland area (east of Dalby from Rainbow Beach to Stanthorpe). Refer to this product for more information.
The next warning is due to be issued by 6:20 pm.
Warnings are also available through TV and Radio broadcasts, the Bureau's website at www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 210. The Bureau and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services would appreciate warnings being broadcast regularly.
GYMPIE could be swamped by a "possibly severe" thunderstorm at some stage this afternoon or evening, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
Forecasts published to the BoM website this morning suggest a "medium (40%) chance of showers late this afternoon and evening", which could be matched by a storm and winds blowing north to northwesterly from 20 to 25 km/h.
BoM forecaster Livio Regano said a "line of storms" could be on the march toward the Gold City by later today, potentially bringing with them strong wind gusts or large hail.
"There's a deep inland trough which is the main trigger of the storms, and ahead of that trough the winds are quite hot, they're coming from the north, they've got enough humidity now also to create some clouds," Mr Regano said.
"We're just waiting for the heat to send the bubbles of air rising and producing these storms.
"There is a potential later on for a line of these storms to form and start marching eastward towards the coast, probably the most likely time to get to Gympie by late afternoon or early evening.
"Within that line of storms is the potential for one or two of them to be severe in terms of damaging gusts or large hail."