A massive rain bomb is developing over Australia’s east coast with Queensland set to cop the worst of the late-autumn deluge as a woman died in floodwaters.
Life-threatening flash flooding and major transport disruptions are possible in some areas, the Bureau of Meteorology said in a severe weather update.
‘Two-thirds of the state is currently under flood watch, over the past 24 hours we’ve seen an explosion of cloud over Queensland,’ meteorologist Jackson Browne said.
A woman was found dead in a vehicle at Mount Ossa, north of Mackay on Wednesday morning after her vehicle became submerged in floodwaters.
Two other people were also taken to hospital in a stable condition, police confirmed.
The state’s unseasonable drenching is also forecast to also spread further south, reaching northern NSW by Wednesday and then Sydney and even Melbourne by Thursday.
The bulk of the rain will be in Queensland on Wednesday along the state’s mid-north coast but is forecast to spread further south into NSW and Victoria by Thursday (pictured)
‘About 5am Wednesday a vehicle was washed into a culvert by flood waters from a causeway on Surprise Creek Road at Mount Ossa,’ police said on Wednesday.
‘The vehicle contained three people… Unfortunately the 31-year-old female driver in the vehicle lost her life.’
A 50-year-old man and a 30-year-old woman were transported to Mackay Base Hospital in stable conditions.
On Wednesday, six-hour totals of more than 100mm are forecast for central and northern Queensland and are tipped to exceed 150mm where isolated storms develop, the Bureau said.
Daily totals could exceed 250mm in some Queensland areas.
‘On Tuesday in Mt Isa there was a swift water rescue which is very unusual considering it’s a dry inland city,’ Mr Browne said.
A man in his 20s was pulled from rising floodwaters late on Monday night after a passer-by reported seeing him struggling in the Mount Isa River.
Three people in a ute (pictured) were swept off a causeway near Mackay on Wednesday with one woman unable to be rescued
Two police officers jumped into the swollen river near the local rugby club to help the man, with one able to pull him to safety while the other got stranded himself.
A rescue team was able to bring the second officer to dry land about midnight, with neither injured, while the man was taken to Mount Isa Hospital to be treated for hypothermia.
‘By Wednesday the focus will dramatically shift onto the central coast of Queensland between Townsville and Rockhampton,’ Mr Brown said.
Brisbane is set to be hit with 195mm of rain between Tuesday and Friday, while the the Gold Coast will receive 140mm and the Sunshine Coast 270mm.
Police have warned locals to avoid unnecessary travel as the weather event unfolds.
Brisbane (pictured) is set to be drenched with locals urged not to travel unless necessary as there will likely be disruptions caused by the weather event
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said on Friday the government would be watching the weather event unfold ‘very carefully’.
‘It’s very unusual to see this type of situation occurring in far north Queensland, especially this time of year which is usually near the end of the season,’ she said.
‘We are expecting higher rainfall totals than we’ve seen before in May.’
Northern NSW will see some rain but it is not expected to reach anywhere the catastrophic flooding events that hit in Lismore and surrounding areas in March.
Sydney will see a 95 per cent chance of rain on Wednesday and Thursday with six hourly totals up to 20mm.
Northern NSW will see some rain but it is not expected to reach anywhere the catastrophic flooding events that hit in Lismore and surrounding areas in March (pictured, Lismore, NSW in February)
Melbourne is in for similar weather with showers through to Sunday.
Moving west, Adelaide will be cloudy but will avoid most of rain.
And Perth is expected to see up to 30mm of rain on Thursday courtesy of a separate weather system.
Rainfall records have already tumbled in Queensland with the Hughenden, Richmond and Cloncurry airports recording their highest ever total for May on Tuesday.
‘We can expect that to continue over the coming days,’ the weather bureau’s senior meteorologist Laura Boekel said.
Townsville can expect totals of up to 250mm on Wednesday and Thursday and up to 200mm in a six-hour period.
‘That whole area under the severe weather warning could see flash and riverine flooding,’ Ms Boekel said.
The warning extends from Cairns to as far south as Bowen and includes a warning for life-threatening flash flooding.
The heavy rainfall will move from central Queensland to the coast on Wednesday with a severe weather warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology on Tuesday morning
A flood watch is current for numerous catchments across northern, central and western Queensland, with the southeast and central Queensland to be continually assessed.
A major flood warning is in place for Cooper Creek, and minor warnings for the Thomson and Barcoo rivers.
Elsewhere, moderate flood warnings exist for Eyre Creek and the Diamantina River, with a minor flood watch for the Georgina River.
The bureau said the rainfall will ease over the weekend but it is unusual to have such heavy rain this time of year.
‘Typically in May, that’s when our wet season ends and we see a lot of the moisture, especially in tropical Queensland move actually into the northern hemisphere and they begin their wet season, but that just hasn’t happened yet,’ Ms Boekel said.
‘A lot of the moisture is pushing down across the entire state so that’s why we’re seeing this event. That air mass is ready to go and it’s producing a lot of rainfall and it is unusual for May.’
The torrential downpours are unseasonable for May with meteorologists saying La Nina is still a powerful force (pictured: Brisbane in March)
Five day forecast around Australia
Monday: Max 20C (showers)
Tuesday: Min 15C, Max 22C (showers)
Wednesday: Min 17C, Max 23C (showers)
Thursday: Min 17C, Max 23C (showers)
Friday: Min 17C, Max 24C (shower or two)
Monday: Max 22C (showers)
Tuesday: Min 17C, Max 23C (showers increasing)
Wednesday: Min 19C, Max 23C (rain at times)
Thursday: Min 19C, Max 24C (rain at times)
Friday: Min 19C, Max 24C (showers)
Monday: Max 20C (partly cloudy)
Tuesday: Min 10C, Max 20C (sunny)
Wednesday: Min 10C, Max 21C (partly cloudy)
Thursday: Min 12C, Max 21C (possible shower)
Friday: Min 13C, Max 22C (possible shower)
Monday: Max 17C (partly cloudy)
Tuesday: Min 4C, Max 17C (cloudy)
Wednesday: Min 9C, Max 17C (shower or two)
Thursday: Min 9C, Max 17C (rain)
Friday: Min 11C, Max 19C (showers)
Monday: Max 17C (partly cloudy)
Tuesday: Min 6C, Max 19C (sunny)
Wednesday: Min 8C, Max 19C (partly cloudy)
Thursday: Min 11C, Max 18C (showers)
Friday: Min 14C, Max 21C (shower or two)
Monday: Max 25C (morning smoke then sunny)
Tuesday: Min 10C, Max 25C (sunny)
Wednesday: Min 11C, Max 23C (rain at times)
Thursday: Min 11C, Max 18C (rain)
Friday: Min 7C, Max 18C (partly cloudy)
Monday: Max 16C (mostly sunny)
Tuesday: Min 6C, Max 18C (sunny)
Wednesday: Min 7C, Max 17C (sunny)
Thursday: Min 8C, Max 18C (showers developing)
Friday: Min 11C, Max 18C (showers easing)
Monday: Max 34C (sunny)
Tuesday: Min 24C, Max 33C (mostly sunny)
Wednesday: Min 25C, Max 33C (partly cloudy)
Thursday: Min 25C, Max 32C (partly cloudy)
Friday: Min 25C, Max 32C (partly cloudy)