Thunderstorm warning: Damaging winds and heavy rain
UPDATE 3.45PM: Severe thunderstorms producing damaging winds and heavy rain have been detected south of Toowoomba and across the Darling Downs.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning at 3.40pm.
It warns that "severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours".
9AM: Thunderstorms are tipped to hit Toowoomba and parts of the Darling Downs this afternoon a day after severe weather lashed south-east Queensland.
A 68-year-old Narangba man died when he was struck by a falling tree branch during a wild storm at Hervey Bay last night.
Power was cut to thousands during storms across the Toowoomba region yesterday afternoon.
Wind gusts up to 111kmh were recorded in Oakey and 27mm of rain fell in Toowoomba in just 10 minutes.
The Bureau of Meteorology says there is a 80 per cent chance of showers in the Garden City today with predictions of severe thunderstorms this afternoon.
FRIDAY 4.20PM: About 1380 residents in Toowoomba lost power for more than an hour today as wild storms lashed the region.
Power was cut to homes and businesses in Blue Mountain Heights, Harlaxton, Mount Kynoch and Mount Lofty about 2.40pm.
About 200 customers in the Clifton region have their power off with reports of a fallen power line in Forest Spring Rd, Spring Creek.
About 14,000 customers in the South Burnett, including Kingaroy, Nanango, Yarraman, Blackbutt, Kumbia and surrounding areas, have had their power interrupted since 2.40pm.
The sub-transmission lines between the Tarong and Kingaroy substations have tripped.
Crews are investigating, but do not have an estimated restoration time as yet.
2.45: A 111kmh wind gust blew through Oakey as the storms set to hit Queensland regions build in intensity.
About 30mm of rain fell in Toowoomba in just 10 minutes.
Motorists are being urged to take extra caution and care as storms lash the city this afternoon.
Traffic lights are out at the North and Ruthven St intersection, with police en route for traffic control.
Police warn more outages could be caused as the storm bears down on the city.
They ask motorists to delay travel if possible, and to take extreme care if on the roads.
2PM: Toowoomba is in the firing line of intense thunderstorms that are rolling across the Darling Downs.
Heavy rain is falling in Dalby, Jandowae and the northern parts of the Toowoomba region.
The storms are expected to arrive in the Garden City within the next hour.
The Bureau of Meteorology warns that, at 2.05 pm, severe thunderstorms were detected on weather radar near Crows Nest.
These thunderstorms are moving towards the south-east. They are forecast to affect the area south-west of Esk by 2:35 pm and the area north of Gatton by 3:05 pm.
Damaging winds, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones are likely.
"Locations which may be affected include Warwick, Toowoomba, Dalby, Kingaroy, Stanthorpe and Goondiwindi."
1.30PM: Severe thunderstorms predicted to hit parts of the Toowoomba and Darling Downs region today have started to build.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe storm warning for parts of the western Darling Downs, Maranoa and Warrego districts.
BOM is warning that the thunderstorms will produce lightning, damaging winds, hail and heavy rainfall that could spark flash flooding.
They are forecast to affect Warwick, Toowoomba, Dalby, Oakey and Stanthorpe over the next several hours.
9AM: The Bureau of Meteorology is warning residents to be ready for the storms predicted to hit this region this afternoon, saying conditions were perfect for a severe thunderstorm.
Forecaster Jess Carey said residents could expect the humidity to remain high.
He said he expected severe weather warnings to be issued later today through the bureau.
"People need to be alert and aware of the risk and not to downplay the situation," he said.
While the radar around the region may not look significant, the relatively stationary upper level low in New South Wales was drawing the dry air leaving high moisture and instability on the Darling Downs.
"This is going to help the clouds to develop and with that low not going anywhere the weather may persist through Monday as well," he said.
"The dew point is quite high and the humidity is expected to stay well above 60 to 70 per cent with slightly above average temperatures.
"We're expecting the rainfall to happen in very short periods of time, with intense rainfall, wind gusts greater than 90kmh and hail bigger than 2cm."
He said regardless of the oncoming weather becoming a super cell or a severe thunderstorm, on the ground residents would experience the same impact.
"We don't want people to become complacent because we're not calling it a super cell or tornado," he said.
"We're not saying either of those things won't happen, but there are about 15 different things that need to line up for it and we're trying to focus on what we predict to happen."
8AM: Toowoomba and the Darling Downs got a taste of the severe storms expected to hit today with torrential downpours across the region late yesterday.
More than 30mm of rain fell in Toowoomba over 90 minutes from 5.30pm.
The Bureau of Meteorology is predicting Toowoomba's maximum temperature to be 29 degrees today with a 90 per cent chance of showers.
"The chance of a thunderstorm, possibly severe," forecasters predict.
A spokesman from the bureau said it was expecting storms to start heading towards the city from about mid to late afternoon and continue through to the evening.
"We will see the storms form around Crows Nest from about 1pm or 2pm (and) hit the far western suburbs from about 3.30pm," he said
People should also be prepared for high temperatures with the bureau expecting the mercury to reach the low to mid 30s with high humidity forecast.
Extreme weather watchers Higgins Storm Chasers have issued an updated warning for severe storms and possible super cells on Friday and Saturday.
The warning, issued on Thursday night, covers from northern New South Wales to Rockhampton with storms most likely to start Friday afternoon.
Jeff Higgins, in a video briefing released on his site, said the weather system remained in the top 3 he had seen in the past year for potential for heavy rain, flash flooding, severe lightning, thunder and hail.
He has also told News Corp that there is a possibility of tornados given the combination of high temperatures and storm conditions.
Temperatures of up to 35 degrees are expected in some Queensland towns.
Mr Higgins said rainfall could vary greatly across the south-east from just 5 to 10mm to more than 150mm under a severe thunderstorm.
Mitchell had received 160mm of rain in one storm, with reports of up to 200mm this week, he said.
EARLIER: Darling Downs residents have been warned to brace for a massive storm and potential "super cell'' expected to reach the region today, bringing with it damaging winds, hail up to 8cm and rain.
Higgins Storm Chasers has issued a warning saying the surface trough would also bring flash flooding and frequent lightning.
Bureau of Meteorology forecaster David Grant echoed the warning but could not detail the size of hail expected or wind speed.
He said the focus for residents was the oncoming storm, partially triggered by the warm and humid air mass combining with the slow-moving surface trough.
"The severe thunderstorm has the potential to lead to flash flooding and large hail," he said.
Mitchell and Injune were pelted with rain on Wednesday night, with Mitchell recording its wettest day on record at 158mm.
That number is close to twice the average rainfall in the area for January.
"The nature of that thunderstorm activity brought patchy storms with it, whereas many other areas saw a ballpark fall of around 25-60mm.''
He said it was important for residents to be prepared when severe storms were predicted, and to be aware of the possible danger and damage from hail and strong winds.
Unconfirmed rain gauges showed closer to 200mm falling around Mitchell between 7pm Wednesday and about 5am on Thursday.
Injune received 75mm.
Jeff Higgins said the system would peak today as a possible ''super cell'' rolls in.
"As far as severe storm set ups are concerned, this ranks in the top five over the past 12 months and people need to be made well aware of the dangerous potential."
Retired Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Mike Griffin, who has more than 40 years' experience, said the rare weather conditions being seen at the moment were stretching over 2000km up and down eastern Australia.
Locations across the state from Mackay to the Darling Downs are expected to be affected, including Warwick, Toowoomba, Oakey, Dalby and Kingaroy.
The worst of the storms are predicted to end by early next week..
Basalt Creek on Mitchell Bollon Rd flooded.
A resident working at the Mitchell Post Office said the damaging rain was unexpected.
"Gutters on the houses couldn't cope with that amount, and many houses had rain come through the back door or ceilings," she said.
To this time last year just 60.3mm of rain had fallen.
Ergon Energy recorded 28 properties around Mitchell without electricity due to the storm and fallen power lines.