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Southeast blacked out after wild storm



A FREAK storm plunged a staggering 100,000 properties into darkness last night and sparked the mass evacuation of a rock concert.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the thunderstorms and soaring temperatures lashing the southeast are far from over, with more wild weather predicted in parts of the region today, especially inland areas like the Lockyer Valley, Ipswich, Boonah and Kilcoy.

Last night, more than 57,000 Logan properties lost power and almost 34,000 households and businesses in Brisbane were in the dark after the storm, which hit about 6pm.

A Queensland Fire and Emergency spokeswoman said about 100 callouts for SES were made across southeast Queensland.

“The damages reported were trees down, property damage and power lines,” she said.

“Tomorrow morning when people wake up and check the damage outside we will expect more calls.”

The blackout was similar in scale to when the storm system generated by Cyclone Debbie hit Brisbane last year.

Energex spokesman Tyrone Marega said: “You can never tell how severe a storm is going to be before it hits. We did expect damages due to the velocity of the storm.”

Hail the size of cricket balls was reported near Boonah and social media was flooded with pictures of lightning.

Hundreds of concert-goers waiting to see US band Paramore were forced to evacuate Riverstage in the Brisbane CBD due to concerns over lightning.

The concert resumed about an hour later.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michelle Berry said the thunderstorms provided a temporary relief from the heat, but temperatures would go straight back up. She said the southeast would be waiting until at least Friday for a drop in temperatures.

“We saw temperatures well and truly above average. Pretty much for any area south of Townsville temperatures were between three and 10 degrees above average,” Ms Berry said.

The hottest recorded temperature yesterday was 44.9C, recorded at Ballera, a gas field near Thargomindah in the south west Queensland.

EARLIER: SEVERE thunderstorms have wreaked havoc across southeast Queensland, with large hailstones the size of cricket balls and damaging winds across the region.

While the worst of the storms has passed, more than 100,000 homes are without power according to Energex.

Concertgoers waiting to see US band Paramore were left drenched at Riverstage in Brisbane’s CBD after lightning forced an evacuation.

One fan, Emily Homer said everyone had been kicked out of the venue to seek shelter due to the severe thunderstorm warning.

“The concert hadn’t actually started, there was still a huge line of people waiting to get through the gates,” she said.

“The support act was meant to start at 6:30.

“We were evacuated to anywhere undercover basically, most went to the nearest undercover park, and the rest of us hid under building awnings or trees.”

Now that the storm has passed, concertgoers are on their way back into the venue.

“People are still in good spirits, there’s been groups singing,” Ms Homer said.

“General complaints of course, but overall it’s still all good.”

Wind gusts of 90km/hr or more were observed at Redcliffe, Inner Beacon, Redlands, Amberley and Archerfield.

Hail the size of golf and cricket balls was reported near Boonah.

As of 8.28pm, BOM advises that all Queensland sever thunderstorm warnings have been cancelled.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should:

* Beware of fallen trees and powerlines.

* Never drive, walk or ride through flood waters. If it’s flooded, forget it.

* For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.



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