Nine killed as deadly storms ravage Qld, NSW, Vic

Deadly storm

The death toll from wild weather lashing Australia’s east coast has risen to nine on Wednesday after the bodies of two men and a woman missing in Queensland were found.

The rising fatalities come as three storm cells merged over Sydney on Wednesday afternoon to form another damaging front headed for the city.

A severe thunderstorm warning was issued mid-afternoon as the ‘squall’ was forecast to affect Hornsby, Parramatta, Sutherland, Sydney Airport, Sydney Olympic Park, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Mona Vale and waters off Bondi Beach.

“All the storm cells have merged into one squall line. Expect some squally winds and possibly some hail as the line passes overhead,” warned the Bureau of Meteorology.

The NSW State Emergency Service said people should move their cars away from trees or under cover and secure loose items.

The weather bureau also issued a severe storm warning for people in Penrith, Parramatta, Wollongong, Nowra and Campbelltown.

The nine lives lost in the intense storms that impacted Queensland, NSW and Victoria on Christmas Day and Boxing Day include:

  • A nine-year-old girl who had been missing in a stormwater drain in Rochedale, Brisbane
  • Three bodies recovered from Moreton Bay, near Brisbane, after a boating accident on Tuesday
  • Two women, 40 and 46, swept away in floodwaters in Gympie, north of Noosa, on Boxing Day
  • A female killed in floodwaters at a campground in east Gippsland, Victoria, on Tuesday
  • A man hit by a fallen tree in Gippsland, Victoria, on Boxing Day
  • A 59-year-old woman hit by a fallen tree in Helensvale on the Gold Coast on Christmas night

Qld Police said on Wednesday the remains of two men who were on a large boat that capsized in “horrific conditions” in Moreton Bay, near Brisbane, had been recovered.

Of the 11 people on board, eight were saved, one was confirmed dead on Tuesday and two were confirmed dead on Wednesday.

News Corp has named two of the victims as teachers and former rugby players David ‘Mario’ Logan and Steve Tait, who played for Queensland.

The body of a 46-year-old woman missing in floodwaters at the Gympie Weir on the Mary River, north of Noosa, brought the death toll to nine on Wednesday afternoon.

Police said three women had been “exploring” in a storm drain in Gympie when they were swept away by water.

The body of a 40-year-old woman was retrieved from the river on Tuesday night, while the third member of the group managed to get to safety.

“It is just a tragic set of circumstances but it’s felt particularly hard this time of year when people would prefer to be spending time with their loved ones and family,” Superintendent Paul Algie said.

The body of the nine-year-old girl was found after she was swept away in a stormwater drain. She has been named in the media as Mia Holland-McCormack.

Severe weather lashed parts of Queensland’s southeast on Christmas and Boxing Day.

At Gympie a wind gust of 100km/h was recorded on Tuesday while golf ball-sized hail was spotted at Zillmere in Brisbane’s north.

At Jindalee in Brisbane’s southwest 62mm of rain was recorded in an hour.

On Christmas Day, storms left more than 120,000 households across the Gold Coast, Logan and Scenic Rim without power and some were still cut off with more than 800 powerlines down across the southeast.

Gold Coast homes were smashed on Christmas night. Photo: 9NEWS

The Bureau of Meteorology said some further severe thunderstorms were possible on Wednesday around central and northern parts of the Queensland coast, and potentially reaching south to Brisbane.

However by Wednesday afternoon conditions were expected to ease.

Heatwave conditions in the state’s north have prompted warnings from meteorologists, with maximum temperatures across the Gulf region expected to reach the low 40s on Wednesday.

NSW storms

Wet weather has battered parts of NSW for multiple days leaving communities on alert to the possibility of flooding.

Volunteers from the NSW State Emergency Service were kept busy through Christmas and Boxing Day, responding to 473 calls for help and conducting six flood rescues.

More than 80 jobs were recorded in the state’s northeast on Boxing Day, after four-centimetre hail caused havoc near Maitland in the Hunter Valley, shattering windows and damaging vehicles, skylights and roof tiles.

The suburb of Rutherford was particularly hard hit, with more than 50 people calling for help in under an hour after facing the brunt of the hail.

A soccer field covered in hail in Rutherford, NSW, on Tuesday. Photo: X (Lauren Kempe)

Campground death

A woman died after a campground in regional Victoria was hit by flash flooding as the state was battered by thunderstorms.

Emergency workers were called to the Buchan campground in east Gippsland just after 5pm on Tuesday.

“Police were told a number of vehicles in the campground area were underwater and a number of people were safely retrieved from a nearby bridge,” police said in a statement on Tuesday night.

The woman was found dead about 6.45pm, and police said she is yet to be formally identified.

Earlier on Tuesday a man was killed after a branch fell on his property in Caringal.

“Emergency services provided medical assistance however the 44-year-old Bunyip man died at the scene,” Victoria Police told AAP in a statement.

The state continued to be battered by thunderstorms and remained on flood watch on Boxing Day after a wet Christmas.

Flooding in Wedderburn, 217km north of Melbourne. Photo: Facebook

The State Emergency Service responded to more than 1000 assistance requests over three days.

The bulk of the calls came from Frankston, Shepparton, Bendigo and the state’s west but the focus was expected to shift to the east with a number of flood warnings issued, SES state agency commander Alistair Drayton said.

Downed trees, particularly across roads, as well as water entering houses made up a large number of the calls.

-with AAP

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