Two powerful weather systems sweeping over Australia are set to collide – bringing hail, damaging winds and torrential rain to a vast stretch of the east coast.
A fierce ‘supercell’ storm is expected to hit south-east Queensland and northern NSW on Wednesday, as a high pressure system moving over north-west Australia crashes into a cold front heading north from Victoria.
Parts of Queensland took a pummelling on Tuesday, with the Sunshine Coast town of Coolum receiving a month’s worth of rain in just 15 minutes.
Hailstorms lashed areas further inland, with massive balls of ice becoming lodged in fruit nets at a rural property at Glass House Mountains.
Weather expert Garry Youngberry said thousands of residents should brace for even worse conditions, describing Wednesday as ’round three for severe thunderstorms’.
‘The last two days we’ve had hail, destructive winds and very heavy rainfall. But today we are likely to see supercells,’ he told the Nine Network.
‘Any time from late morning to early afternoon we are likely to see thunderstorms light up right across south-east Queensland.
‘It is very widespread. We are going to quite a light show and possibly damage later today.’
Heavy rain is expected to persist in south-east Queensland for the next five days, with up to 150mm to fall in Brisbane.
WHAT IS A ‘SUPERCELL’ STORM?
There are three simplified thunderstorm types: the single-cell, the multicell and the supercell.
Of these, the multicell is the most common.
A supercell thunderstorm is a special storm type which maintains an intense steady-state for many hours.
They are a fascinating but dangerous cloud complex and they account for most of the serious thunderstorm events we experience.
Source: Bureau of Meteorology
But Mr Youngberry said it will do nothing for farmers struggling to save their crops.
‘Our farmers really can’t win a trick. With thunderstorms, the rainfall is so heavy the only benefit for the farmers is the top up with their water tanks,’ he said.
‘It does more harm than good it runs off and no moisture soaking into the soil.’
Weatherzone meteorologist Jacob Cronje said the two separate weather systems are typical of this time of year.
‘A front is more of a winter-like system while the inland system is more like summer. It’s the transition, it’s typical to see this kind of set up,’ he told Nine News.
Parts of central and north-east NSW will also be affected, with wild thunderstorms expected to hit on Wednesday afternoon.
Sydney will see showers with an expected top of just 17C, five below the October average.
Rain is expected in the Harbour City until at least Sunday, before a cloudy and cool start to next week.
Melbourne will experience strong winds with a top of 18C on Wednesday, while severe weather is expected to hit Victoria’s Central, Gippsland and Wimmera regions.
Adelaide will also be windy with a top of 20C, while Perth’s morning storms will clear with an expected maximum of 27C.
Showers are forecast in Canberra with a chilly top of 14C, and Hobart will see cloudy day with a 13C maximum.
Darwin will be typically hot and sunny with and is expected to reach 34C.
THE DAYS AHEAD IN YOUR CITY
Wednesday: Min 15, Max 18, windy and showers
Thursday: Min 13, Max 18, possible shower
Friday: Min 14, Max 19, likely showers
Saturday: Min 14, Max 20, shower
Wednesday: Min 14, Max 17, clearing shower
Thursday: Min 3, Max 15, mostly sunny
Friday: Min 3, Max 16, partly cloudy
Saturday: Min 4, Max 19, possible shower
Wednesday: Min 15, Max 27, storms clearing, mostly sunny day
Thursday: Min 14, Max 24, mostly sunny
Friday: Min 14, Max 21, shower or two
Saturday: Min 12, Max 20, showers easing
Wednesday: Min 24, Max 34, sunny
Thursday: Min 24, Max 34, sunny
Friday: Min 25, Max 33, mostly sunny
Saturday: Min 25, Max 33, possible thunderstorm
Wednesday: Min 10, Max 18, partly cloudy
Thursday: Min 7, Max 20, sunny
Friday: Min 8, Max 22, mostly sunny
Saturday: Min 11, Max 23, mostly sunny
Wednesday: Min 9, Max 20, mostly sunny
Thursday: Min 10, Max 23, mostly sunny
Friday: Min 13, Max 26, mostly sunny
Saturday: Min 15, Max 27, Mostly sunny
Wednesday: Min 7, Max 14, mostly sunny
Thursday: Min 3, Max 16, mostly sunny
Friday: Min 6, Max 19, mostly sunny
Saturday: Min 7, Max 22, mostly sunny
Wednesday: Min 17, Max 31, thunderstorms
Thursday: Min 18, Max 22, showers
Friday: Min 16, Max 20, showers
Saturday: Min 16, Max 19, showers
The east coast’s wild weather comes after Australia was told to expect heatwaves and bushfires by the end of the year, with a 70 per cent chance of El Nino.
This triple the likelihood of an El Nino system forming to bring drier than normal conditions by the end of 2018, the Bureau of Meteorology warned.
‘Between the (above average) temperature and the lack of rainfall, this is not good news,’ bureau climatologist Robyn Duell told AAP.
‘This outlook on the back of such little rainfall and dry conditions makes it such a worry for people.’
Australia endured its driest September since rainfall records began in 1900, Ms Duell said.
The eastern tropical Indian Ocean is cooler than normal while the western part of the ocean is warmer than usual, which is common with El Nino, she said.