Melbourne had a wet and wild end to Friday
After Queensland and New South Wales copped some of their heaviest February rainfall in years this week, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning for much of Victoria’s capital and areas near Geelong.
Residents in Melbourne, Mildura, Horsham, Warrnambool, Bendigo, Maryborough, Ballart and Geelong were told that a “warm, humid and unstable airstream” is leading to the perfect conditions for thunderstorms.
Intense rain has lashed Melbourne’s outer eastern and southeastern suburbs, leading to flash flooding and fallen trees.
Parts of Victoria’s Gippsland and La Trobe Valley have also copped a drenching as severe thunderstorms hit the state on Friday, reported AAP.
The State Emergency Service fielded 388 calls in the six hours to 5:30pm, with 157 of them for flooding, 108 for building damage and 102 for fallen trees. The Bureau of Meteorology says rain has been particularly intense in the outer eastern suburbs of Croydon, Ringwood, Bayswater, Boronia, Ferntree Gully. In the southeast, Narre Warren, Cranbourne, Beaconsfield and Berwick have been soaked.
Southeastern Cardinia recorded 63mm by 6pm, 42mm of which fell within half an hour, while nearby Officer received 48mm.
Both Eastern Ringwood and Heathmont received 39mm.
The greatest total of 67mm was in She Oaks near Geelong.
Parts of soaked Australia are preparing for even more torrential falls this weekend while another region is facing a record-breaking February heatwave with temperatures forecast to soar above 40C.
Southeast Queensland will see plenty more showers today and through the weekend after dozens of rivers across the state and further south in NSW flooded.
“It’s been the wettest week in decades for south east Queensland and the NSW coast,” Sky Weatherchief meteorologist Tom Saunders said.
The constant wet weather has seen some inland regions of Queensland receive more than 100mm of rain in a single day with Casino copping a drenching yesterday.
For NSW, most areas will have a dry day on Friday before storms and showers develop in the afternoon for most of Victoria and southern and northern NSW.
A dry southerly air stream will stop the rain briefly before showers and storms lash eastern NSW for much of the weekend.
“As we’ve seen through this week they’ll be slow moving storms and as a result there will be the risk of some localised flash flooding,” Mr Saunders said.
Rain is forecast for much of the coast today with Sydney, the Northern Tablelands, Mid-North Coast, Hunter and south coast to get a drenching.
A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for the northeast with Lismore, Tenterfield, Byron Bay, Ballina and Casino facing possible flash flooding.
Flood warnings are in place for several rivers, including the Tweed River at Tumbulgum and the Orara River at Glenreagh, with the bureau saying many waterways are already saturated after last week’s record rainfall.
Ex-tropical Cyclone Uesi, which has been tracking its way south just off Australia’s mainland, will also trigger severe surf warnings.
Cape Byron, just south of the Queensland-NSW border, has already seen waves more than 7m high.
While southern and eastern Australia is likely to have a wet and cooler weekend, further north things are going to be much hotter.
Tropical Australia, including much of the Northern Territory and northern Queensland, is in the middle of an extreme heatwave.
“Temperatures will be well above the minimum and maximum average,” Mr Saunders said.
“And we’ll be breaking some February records along the Queensland coast.”
Strong winds gusts continue to hit Lord Howe Island as Cyclone Uesi moves south throughout the night.
The Bureau of Meteorology says 102km/h winds are now hitting the island 600km east of Port Macquarie, with only 0.2 millimetres of rain recorded so far.
The ex-tropical cyclone low pressure system will produce heavy rainfall from about midnight on Friday into early Saturday morning.
Winds are forecast to gust up to 150km/h and about 150mm of rain could drench the island over 24 hours.
On Thursday night, 15,000 homes and businesses were still without power across Sydney and the Central Coast.
Endeavour Energy has restored power to all customers affected by Sunday’s weather, including 93,000 customers and repairing 1150 electrical hazards.
The team will now support Ausgrid, who have been working around the clock to restore power to almost 18,000 customers.
Ausgrid has restored power to about 122,000 homes and businesses since Sunday, with an aim of restoring all supplies by this Sunday.
Additional resources, including personnel from the State Emergency Service, Rural Fire Service and NSW Fire and Rescue have been on the ground on Thursday to help remove hundreds of fallen trees to allow Ausgrid crews to get in and make repairs.
While eastern Australia welcomed a deluge of rain which put out bushfires and filled dams, but the wet weather comes with a different threat with experts warning it could boost mosquito numbers as the insects flock to floodwaters to breed.
NSW’s latest mosquito monitoring report says “very high” numbers are concentrated in Sydney’s western suburbs, including Parramatta, and in the Georges River at Bankstown and Illawong.
Large numbers were also recorded on the coast at Port Macquarie and on the Queensland border while in inland areas, populations are low. However, recent heavy rainfall could trigger dormant mosquito eggs to hatch and swarm flooded regions.
Medical entomologist Cameron Webb, of NSW Health Pathology, says more mosquitoes are to be expected as the rain fills up wetlands and flows into bushland.
“Australia is home to dozens of different kinds of mosquitoes which either breed in salt water wetlands and briny mangroves or in freshwater habitats, irrigated areas and bushland,” Dr Webb told AAP.
The most concerning are the aides vigilax and culex annulisrostris mosquitoes, salt and freshwater breeders respectively, which can carry diseases such as Ross River virus.
Only female mosquitoes bite as they need the nutrients in blood for their larvae.