Storms have pummelled southeastern Queensland, leaving thousands without power amid sweltering temperatures, as a tropical cyclone brews offshore.
More than 41,000 properties were initially in the dark on Monday night due to severe storm cells bringing damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall.
That figure had dropped to 38,312 homes by 7.15pm, with 12,687 customers affected in Brisbane and 13,643 without power in Moreton Bay area.
The severe storms could possibly lead to flash flooding near northern Lake Wivenhoe and Somerset Dam.
“These thunderstorms are moving towards the north to northeast. They are forecast to affect Kilcoy, the area west of Kilcoy and Lake Somerset by 6.55 pm and Jimna, Mount Kilcoy and Linville by 7.25 pm,” the Bureau of Meteorology warned.
The state was already facing a new record for peak electricity demand on Monday evening due to the heatwave, Queensland Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said before the blackout.
The storms followed a heatwave that drove temperatures into the 40s in some parts.
Brisbane reached a high of 36 degrees, but felt around 4 to 8 degrees hotter as it was exacerbated by high humidity, WeatherZone meteorologist Ashleigh Lange said.
“At 10.20am AEST on Monday, the temperature in Brisbane felt like 40.5, despite the air temperature only sitting on 34,” she said.
“This sweltering ‘feels like’ temperature was due to excessive levels of water vapour in the atmosphere, with a dew point of nearly 26 at the time.”
Queenslanders further north will also have to face severe weather this week, with a tropical cyclone likely to smash into the coast from Thursday.
The storm is likely to affect the Far North much earlier, with heavy rain and a potential storm surge to affect residents from Ayr to St Lawrence within 48 hours according to the Bureau.
“It will continue intensifying once it becomes a tropical cyclone and the most likely scenario is that it could be a severe tropical cyclone [category 3] before it crosses the coast later in the week,” meteorologist Laura Boekel said.
“Gales with damaging wind gusts of up to 120km/h may develop about coastal and island communities between Ayr and St Lawrence, and that’s from as early as Wednesday morning,” she added.
A cyclone watch is currently in place for south of Cairns including Townsville, Mackay and the Whitsunday Islands.
The cyclone is currently 860km east of Townsville and is moving toward the coast at 55 km/h.
“A tropical low (05U) is slow moving in the central Coral Sea and is likely to become a tropical cyclone during late Tuesday,” the Bureau warns.
“This system is forecast to track southwest over the next few days towards the Queensland coast as it intensifies.”