Monday, November 17, 2008

Queensland hit by worst storms in 25 years (BBC)

Queensland hit by worst storms in 25 years by Tomasz Schafernaker

A series of violent storms tore across Australia’s eastern coast over the weekend, producing golf ball sized hail stones, strong winds and heavy rain. The Australian Bureau of Meteorology reported that between 50-70mm of rainfall (2-3 inches) of hit southern Queensland on Sunday, leading to widespread flash floods.

Brisbane was the hardest hit as 80mph (129kph) winds lashed central and southern parts of the state. The winds uprooted more than 20 miles (32km) of power lines, leaving around 230,000 residents without power.

The storms have been some of the most damaging the region has seen in over 25 years. They have been compared with Cyclone Larry, which battered Queensland with 180mph (290kph) winds and heavy rain in 2006.

As of Monday morning the storms have cleared, and the severe thunderstorm warnings have been cancelled. Forecasters at the Bureau of Meteorology expect showers and lighter rain over the next 24 hours, allowing the clean- up to begin.