The first week of 2024 in Australia has been marked by extreme weather conditions, with storms continuing to batter the east coast and a heatwave impacting the northern part of the country. Central Victoria is bracing for thunderstorms, which are forecasted to become widespread over the eastern half of the state, potentially bringing heavy falls, large hail, and damaging winds.
Melbourne is expecting showers and the possibility of severe thunderstorms. Flights at the city’s airport were halted due to lightning, and nearly 50,000 homes and businesses in the state experienced power outages. Power providers, including Powercor and AusNet, reported tens of thousands of lightning strikes in the past 24 hours, causing disruptions in electricity supply. Emergency services are working to restore power, but some areas may remain without electricity overnight.
In northern New South Wales, storms and flooding have kept emergency services busy. Some localities received more than a month’s worth of rain in the 48 hours leading up to Tuesday evening, with significant rainfall in the northern rivers region. The State Emergency Service conducted 28 rescues during this period, and the risk of severe storms and flash flooding continues in parts of New South Wales and Victoria.
Queensland, already grappling with the aftermath of severe weather, faces the prospect of thunderstorms. Australian Defence Force troops have been deployed to aid recovery efforts, and authorities are working to restore power to around 8,000 homes.
Queensland police assistant commissioner Ben Marcus noted the challenges of restoring power due to the extensive damage, with hundreds of power poles needing replacement. Flood-damaged roads remain closed, and ongoing rain increases the potential for landslides and debris.
The federal emergency management minister, Murray Watt, emphasized the need for additional resources in Queensland due to compounding weather events. Floods and storms have resulted in numerous rescues, with over 5,000 calls for help since Christmas Day. In the state’s southeast, severe storms have destroyed homes and caused varying degrees of damage to others.
Despite the Bureau of Meteorology stating that the worst of the wild weather has moved on, isolated showers and thunderstorms are still likely across most of Queensland. Concerns about the dissemination of timely information during extreme weather events were raised, with plans for improved emergency text alerts to be sent out by councils.
The extreme weather conditions in Australia during the first week of 2024 have prompted ongoing concerns and challenges. In central Victoria, the anticipation of widespread thunderstorms has raised alarms for potential heavy falls, large hail, and damaging winds. Melbourne, in particular, is preparing for severe weather, following disruptions such as flight stoppages and widespread power outages in the state.
Northern New South Wales has already experienced significant storms and flooding, with some areas receiving more than a month’s worth of rain in just 48 hours. Emergency services have been actively involved in rescue operations, and the risk of severe storms and flash flooding continues to loom over parts of New South Wales and Victoria.
Queensland, grappling with the aftermath of a week-long battering of severe weather, faces the prospect of additional thunderstorms. The Australian Defence Force has been deployed to aid in recovery efforts, as authorities work tirelessly to restore power to thousands of homes. The extensive damage, including the need to replace hundreds of power poles, poses a significant challenge, and the restoration process is expected to take time.
Queensland Police Assistant Commissioner Ben Marcus acknowledged the complexity of the recovery, noting the loss of days due to wet weather and emphasizing the lengthy restoration timeline. Flood-damaged roads remain closed, and the ongoing rain increases the potential for landslides and fallen debris. The need for additional resources in Queensland has been underscored by Federal Emergency Management Minister Murray Watt, highlighting the compounding weather events that require a concerted response.
Despite the Bureau of Meteorology stating that the worst of the wild weather has moved on, the impacts are still being felt across various regions. Isolated showers and thunderstorms are anticipated across most of Queensland, and concerns have been raised about the timely dissemination of information during extreme weather events. Plans for improved emergency text alerts by councils aim to address gaps in communication and enhance public awareness.
As Australians grapple with the aftermath of these extreme weather events, the focus remains on recovery efforts, ensuring the safety of communities, and addressing the challenges posed by ongoing weather-related disruptions.