Major highways remain cut, theme parks have closed and dozens of vehicles have been swamped as up to 300mm of torrential rain bucketed down on southeast Queensland overnight.
Two people have been rescued after trying to drive through floodwater on the Gold Coast, with police receiving more than 50 reports of flooded roads across the city on Saturday morning.
The deluge hit the Gold Coast the hardest with 325mm of rain falling at Loders Creek and more than 200mm in the Gold Coast Hinterland.
The M1 remains closed at Helensvale as emergency crews try to pump floodwater away. Heavy trucks are being allowed to pass through, but cars continue to be diverted.
Theme parks Warner Bros Movie World, Dreamworld and Whitewater World Theme Park have closed to the public.
Theme parks MovieWorld and Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast were shut Saturday due to the flooding
A car disappears under flash floods on a Gold Coast road on Saturday morning
1500 NSW volunteer firefighters rejoiced in the rain which helped put out 49 fires since last Saturday. These two volunteers are pictured at the One Mile fire near Port Stephens, NSW
Torrential rain pelted Southeast Queensland as this rain radar image shows
Major highways have been cut at the Gold Coast suburb of Helensvale
Queensland Fire and Emergency tweeted this reminder: If it’s flooded, forget it. Don’t drive on flooded roads as flash floods can be fast-moving, unpredictable and are dangerous
The Bureau of Meteorology warned of ‘life threatening’ flash flooding at 6.15am
The Gold Coast suburb of Coomera, southeast of Brisbane, was inundated with 90mm of rain in just one hour, the Bureau of Meteorology reported.
‘Very dangerous storms are producing intense rainfall around Coomera,’ the Bureau warned on Twitter at 6.15am
‘Dangerous and life threatening flash flooding is likely.’
Queensland Fire and Emergency tweeted a reminder to motorists not to drive onto flooded roads.
‘If it’s flooded, forget it,’ QFES wrote under a picture of a road underwater.
‘Fast-moving water can be extremely unpredictable and have devastating consequences.’
According to the weather bureau, triple the monthly rainfall has fallen on the Gold Coast in the past 12 hours, with the slow-moving cell impacting northern NSW before starting to move offshore.
Chaos hit Queensland roads as the rain bomb dumped precipitation on the Gold Coast
Heavy rains tested Sydney’s stormwater drains. Pictured is a car driving through a giant puddle in the inner-city suburb of Surry Hills on Friday morning
Severe thunderstorms with the potential for flash floods were forecast on Saturday morning for the NSW Northern Rivers region
RAINFALL TOTALS SINCE 9AM FRIDAY
Gold Coast region average ranged from 150mm to 250mm
330mm – Loder Creek Dam. This station is inland from the Gold Coast Seaway
306mm – Loder Creek
301mm – Carrara
297mm – Evandale
291mm – Burleigh Waters
266mm – Clearview
246mm – Worongary Creek
239mm – Tallebudgera Creek Road
238mm – Mudgeeraba. This station is inland from the Gold Coast
224mm – Monterey Keys. This station recorded 146mm of this total in just two hours which exceeded a one-in-100-year event and caused flash flooding
Source: Bureau of Meteorology
A severe thunderstorm warning with possible flash flooding was issued just after 10am Saturday for the NSW Northern Rivers region, with heavy falls recorded at Kingscliff.
The rain bomb comes as gentler falls over the past few days have helped exhausted volunteer firefighters extinguish more than 40 bushfires down the east coast of New South Wales.
More than 1500 firefighters were working to contain 75 bushfires in NSW on Saturday morning of which 25 were uncontrolled.
The onset of rain over the state has helped the firefighters put out 49 fires since last Saturday when there were 124 major fires burning in the drought-ravaged state of which 47 were out of control.
Bureau of Meteorology NSW duty forecaster Rob Taggart said the rains so far had been heavier in the state’s northeast.
‘For the last 24 hours, the firegrounds blessed with the most rainfalls .. are on the north coast and mid-north coast,’ he said.
The rain had brought relief to the monster Gospers Mountain blaze that has destroyed an area six times the size of Singapore and has been burning northwest of Sydney since October 26 last year.
‘Some areas in there have had up to 50mm,’ Mr Taggart said.
Mr Taggart said good falls of up to 53mm had fallen on the border of the Currowan fire on the NSW south coast, north of Batemans Bay.
The rains had been light and patchy on the far south coast, bringing little relief so far.
‘Some parts of the fireground may have missed out,’ he said.
‘The firegrounds in the south coast area and in the Snowys area haven’t picked up as much rainfall.’
This is likely to change on Monday, Mr Taggart said, when another weather system comes through that is more promising for the southern firegrounds including the southwest slopes and Snowy Mountains area.
The widespread showers and thunderstorms that have brought relief to the state over the past week are forecast to continue until Tuesday.
Central NSW and the state’s northeast are expected to cop a soaking on Saturday with the potential for heavy rainfall on the north coast and parts of the Central Coast, Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Zach Porter told AAP.
A bewildered kangaroo stands in the floods on Saturday
Sydneysiders opened their umbrellas for the first time since September as welcome rains brought relief from months of dry weather
Like champagne from heaven for farmers: the rains brought drought relief over large areas of New South Wales with more forecast to fall until Monday
An Instagrammer from Helensvale shows the Gold Coast hasn’t lost its sense of humour
Heavy rain caused flash flooding in parts of the state on Friday with the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast forced to close for the day as a result of the huge deluge.
Killabakh on the mid-north coast received the most rain with 98mm falling on Friday while Audley in southern Sydney copped 59mm.
The rain didn’t reach the bushfire-ravaged South Coast and Snowy Mountains where the highest rainfall amount recorded was 11mm in Bodalla on Friday, Mr Porter said.
NSW SES assistant commissioner Paul Bailey said there had been 323 call-outs overnight on Thursday including some for surface flooding in Parkes and Dubbo in the state’s central west.
Mr Bailey said fire-affected areas may see an increase in tree falls due to weakened soil, debris flowing into creeks and flash flooding due to a lack of vegetation.
The rain is expected to ease on Sunday with thunderstorms and showers forecast on Monday before windy and dry weather is due on Tuesday.
There’s a potential for elevated fire danger later in the week with warm weather forecast, the BOM said.
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