Storms, fires, hail, heat: Qld braces for extreme weather emergency

Extreme fire risk is but one of the environmental threats confronting Queensland.

Extreme fire risk is but one of the environmental threats confronting Queensland. Photo: AAP

Queenslanders are being urged to get into their gutters as Australia’s most disaster-prone state faces a heatwave, increased fire risk, and possible severe storms.

Heightened bushfire conditions are forecast to return to large parts of the state on Wednesday and Thursday with maximum temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s in the central and southern regions.

Severe thunderstorms with large hail are possible over much of the state’s southeast on Thursday and strong wind warnings are in place for Gold and Sunshine coast waters.

Authorities fear heatwave conditions powered by strong winds and potential dry lightning strikes could reignite fire grounds.

More than a million hectares have burnt across the state since August 1, with 1000 fires reported since October 21.

Firefighting aircraft helped ground crews fight blazes in the Yuleba State Forest, near Roma, at Dirranbandi, near Saint George, and between Mount Garnet and Irvinebank, in far north Queensland, on Wednesday – three of more than 50 active fires across the state.

Rural Fire Service Queensland Superintendent James Haig urged people to prepare their properties to mitigate both storm and fire risks.

“I’d urge any Queenslander to go online to prepare their Bushfire Survival Plan and to do all the things that are recommended through the fire and emergency services website and to do the simple preparations around the house because we know that makes a difference,” he told AAP.

‘Clean your gutters’

“Doing some of these things, particularly clearing your gutters, when the opportunity presents – that can help in preparing for storms as well.

“There’s no downside to cleaning your gutters.”

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned severe storms with large hail, damaging winds and heavy rain are likely on Thursday in the Scenic Rim and possibly across southeast Queensland, including Brisbane and the Gold and Sunshine coasts.

A severe heatwave warning is in place for the Northern Goldfields and Upper Flinders, Central Highlands and Coalfields, Central West, Channel Country, Wide Bay and Burnett and Southeast Coast Districts until Friday.

Maximum temperatures in the low to high 30s are forecast in the Southeast Coast and Wide Bay and Burnett districts, with maximum temperatures in the high 30s to low 40s across southern and central parts of the state.

Locations likely to be impacted include Birdsville, Gympie, Taroom and Windorah.

Severe heatwave conditions are expected to ease over southern Queensland later in the week.

Strong wind warnings are also in place for Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast waters on Wednesday and for the Capricornia Coast, Hervey Bay, Fraser Island Coast and Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast waters on Thursday.


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