Storms sweep through schoolies celebrations

Heavy rain and winds couldn’t dampen school leaver’s first night of celebrations at Schoolies on the Gold Coast.

Queensland Police said the first night went well, with most of the teenagers behaving themselves.

There were 27 people arrested last night but only six of these were schoolies.

Of the six schoolies arrested, half were boys and half girls.

The majority of the 27 people arrested were charged with drug-related offences.

Police said the number of arrests fits the same trend as in 2017.

Around 22,000 teenagers are expected to flock to the Gold Coast for the annual event.

If you have information for Police, please contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day.

You can also report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.

Gold Coast lashed by torrential rain, lightning and wild winds as severe storms strike

UPDATE 6:45 PM | A SEVERE storm has lashed the Gold Coast, dampening the start of Schoolies celebrations.

The cell pushed into southeast Queensland from northern NSW and slammed into the Coast about 5.30pm.

Central and northern suburbs were still being lashed with lightning, strong winds and torrential rain at 6pm. A 59km/h wind gust was recorded at the Gold Coast Seaway at 6:01pm.

The severe storm drenched the city, with 40mm of rain falling in Mudgeeraba in only a matter of minutes.

A large tree came crashing down onto powerlines in the centre of the leafy suburb during the height of the storm, cutting power to 1114 homes and businesses in the area.

SOURCE: Supplied/Brent Livingstone

SOURCE: Supplied/Brent Livingstone

SOURCE: Supplied/Brent Livingstone

Elsewhere, 35mm fell at Biggera Waters, 31mm fell at Bonogin, 30mm at Labrador and Southport and 25mm in Carrara, while 22mm fell in the gauge at Molendinar.

Several streets in Bonogin, Currumbin Valley, Austinville and Robina were also without power at the time of writing.

The storm as it hit the Gold Coast | Source: Weatherzone

The weather bureau warns the storm is expected to hit Logan City by 7:15 pm and Brisbane CBD by 7:45 pm.

Damaging winds, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones are likely.

UPDATE at 5:05 PM | THE Bureau of Meteorology has updated its severe thunderstorm warning for the Gold Coast as a severe cell approaches the city from the south.

The weather bureau warns severe storms impacting areas in northeast New South Wales are expected to push north into Southeast Queensland and hit the southern end of the Gold Coast by 6pm.

At this stage, damaging winds, large hail and very heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding is possible.

Severe storm about to hit the Gold Coast

#WARNING: A SEVERE storm is approaching the Gold Coast from the south. It's expected to hit the city within the hour. BOM warns damaging winds, large hail & heavy rain leading to flash flooding possible. DETAILS HERE: http://bit.ly/2KbhPsu

Posted by Gold Coast Weather & News Together on Friday, 16 November 2018

Meanwhile, a very dangerous thunderstorm is approaching Gympie. Destructive winds and giant hailstones (5cm or more) are possible with this storm. For more on that warning, click here.

Other severe thunderstorms are impacting the area west of Toogoolawah and are forecast to hit Kingaroy by 6pm.

Damaging winds and large hailstones are likely with these storms.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should: 

  • Move your car under cover or away from trees.
  • Secure loose outdoor items.
  • Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.
  • Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
  • Beware of fallen trees and powerlines.
  • For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.

UPDATE at 4:10 PM | A VERY dangerous thunderstorm has been detected approaching the Sunshine Coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology says that, at 3:55 pm, the very dangerous storm was impacting areas near Kilcoy.

The storm is moving towards the north to northeast and is forecast to affect Maleny and Conondale by 4:25 pm and Mapleton and Yandina by 4:55 pm. Destructive winds and giant hail (5cm or more) are possible with this storm.

Other severe thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near the area south of Esk and the area between Boonah and Beaudesert.

They are forecast to affect Esk and Dayboro by 4:35 pm and Logan City and Caboolture by 5:05 pm. Damaging winds and large hailstones are likely with these storms.

A separate general severe thunderstorm warning remains current for the Gold Coast.

In a post on Twitter at 4:09pm, the Bureau of Meteorology said storms in northeast New South Wales “should shift into the Southeast Coast later this afternoon and evening”.

UPDATE at 3:50 PM | THE Bureau of Meteorology has updated its general severe thunderstorm warning to include the Gold Coast.

Updated at 3:43 pm, the warning advises storms capable of producing damaging winds and large hailstones are expected to approach the coast “during the next few hours”.

Locations which may be affected include Warwick, Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Dalby, Maroochydore, Stanthorpe, Kingaroy, Caboolture, Coolangatta and Ipswich.

A separate, detailed severe thunderstorm warning is current for parts of Logan, Somerset, Scenic Rim, Toowoomba, Lockyer Valley, Sunshine Coast, Brisbane City and Moreton Bay Council areas.

The weather bureau warns that, at 3:45 pm, severe thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near the area south of Esk and the area southwest of Esk.

These thunderstorms are moving towards the northeast and are forecast to affect Esk, Kilcoy and the area northwest of Esk by 4:20 pm and the area west of Kilcoy, Maleny and Montville by 4:50 pm.

Damaging winds and large hailstones are likely.

Earlier on Saturday, the weather bureau said “isolated very dangerous storms” capable of producing “giant hail and destructive winds” were possible in Southeast Queensland this afternoon and evening.

Yesterday, the bureau said the risk of heavy rain and localised flash flooding would increase with any storm activity that persisted into the evening hours tonight.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should: 

  • * Move your car under cover or away from trees.
  • * Secure loose outdoor items.
  • * Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.
  • * Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
  • * Beware of fallen trees and powerlines.
  • * For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.

UPDATE At 3:10 PM | THE Bureau of Meteorology has updated its detailed severe thunderstorm warning as storms continue to build and intensify inland of the Gold Coast.

The warning, updated at 3:10 pm, covers parts of Ipswich, Logan, Somerset, Scenic Rim, Lockyer Valley, Brisbane City and Moreton Bay Council Areas.

At the time of the warning, severe thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near Esk, the area northwest of Esk, Mount Barney and Mulgowie.

These thunderstorms were re moving towards the northeast and were forecast to affect Laidley, Gatton and Lake Somerset by 3:45 pm and Beaudesert, the area between Boonah and Beaudesert and Mount Nebo by 4:15 pm.

At this stage, the weather bureau warns damaging winds and large hailstones are likely.

Very large hail up to 4cm was recorded at Urbenville, just south of the border, earlier this afternoon.

Warnings are likely to be extended to cover the Gold Coast as the afternoon and evening progresses.

UPDATE at 2:40 PM | THE Bureau of Meteorology has issued an official severe thunderstorm warning as storms rapidly develop on the Darling Downs, inland of the Gold Coast.

The warning, issued at 2:20 pm, covers parts of the Wide Bay and Burnett, Darling Downs and Granite Belt and Southeast Coast forecast districts.

The weather bureau says severe storms are likely to produce damaging winds and large hailstones in the warning area over the next several hours.

At this stage, locations which may be affected include Warwick, Toowoomba, Dalby, Stanthorpe, Kingaroy, Ipswich, Gatton, Oakey, Jimboomba, Laidley, Lowood and Nanango.

Warnings are likely to be extended to cover the Gold Coast as further storms develop and move closer to the Coast.

At 2:20 pm, severe storms were detected south of the border, about 100km southwest of the Gold Coast, and were forecast to move into the Scenic Rim and affect Mount Barney and Maroon Dam by 3:25 pm.

Earlier, the weather bureau said “isolated very dangerous storms” capable of producing “giant hail and destructive winds” were possible in Southeast Queensland this afternoon and evening.

Yesterday, the bureau said the risk of heavy rain and localised flash flooding would increase with any storm activity that persisted into the evening hours tonight.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advises that people should: 

  • * Move your car under cover or away from trees.
  • * Secure loose outdoor items.
  • * Seek shelter, preferably indoors and never under trees.
  • * Avoid using the telephone during a thunderstorm.
  • * Beware of fallen trees and powerlines.
  • * For emergency assistance contact the SES on 132 500.

FIRST at 12:30 PM | RESIDENTS on the Gold Coast are being urged to prepare now and secure any loose outdoor items with the weather bureau forecasting severe weather to hit the city later today.

The Bureau of Meteorology warns ‘very dangerous storms’ capable of producing giant hailstones, destructive winds and flash flooding could lash the Coast this afternoon and evening.

The bureau says while the most severe storms will be isolated, they will have the potential to whip up wind gusts stronger than 125km/h and produce giant hailstones wider than 5cm.

Flash flooding will also be a risk, with showers and storms expected to dump anywhere between 10-40mm on the Coast.

The weather bureau yesterday said the risk of heavy rain and localised flash flooding would increase with any stormed activity that persisted into the evening hours tonight.

At this stage, it’s impossible to predict exactly where the most dangerous storms will hit until the cells begin appearing on radar.

The forecast follows what has been rather warm week on the Gold Coast, with the mercury soaring above 27 degrees every day since last Saturday.

The wild weather is expected to coincide with the first night of official Schoolies celebrations in Surfers Paradise.

Twenty-two thousand screaming teenagers flooded the party precinct today for the annual end-of-school event.

No official weather warnings were current at the time of writing.

To stay up to date with the latest warnings, click here.

Luxury sports car clocked tearing through 70 zone at 147km/h

A DRIVER has allegedly been clocked travelling through a 70 zone at more than 140km/h on the Gold Coast.

Police were patrolling Main Beach when they allegedly spotted a luxury sports coupe travelling at extreme speed along the Gold Coast Highway near Admiralty Drive about 8.15pm last night.

It’s alleged the vehicle was clocked travelling at 147km/h – more than double the 70km/h limit.

The driver, a 41-year-old man from Paradise Point, was issued with an infringement notice and had his licence suspended on the spot for six months.

If you have information for Police, please contact Policelink on 131 444 or provide information using their online form 24 hours per day.

You can also report information about crime anonymously to Crime Stoppers by calling 1800 333 000 or via crimestoppersqld.com.au 24 hours per day. Crime Stoppers is a registered charity and community volunteer organisation.

Gold Coast steals crown from Brisbane at Tourism Awards night

THE Gold Coast has once again been named Queensland’s top tourist town after winning more accolades than any other region at the Queensland Tourism Awards gala in Broadbeach.

Gold Coast tourism operators won 17 awards, demonstrating that the Sunshine State’s famous beachside playground still holds enormous appeal to visitors.

The Coast outstripped perennial hot rival, the Whitsundays, and last year’s overall winner, Brisbane, by bagging two gold, five silver and seven bronze gongs, along with two individual and one highly commended awards.

The sold-out annual awards night, held at The Star, celebrated the dedicated individuals and successful operators of Queensland’s $25 billion tourism industry.

A total of 87 awards, including 26 gold, 26 silver, 26 bronze, seven highly commended and two individual awards across 28 categories, as well as the RACQ People’s Choice award, were presented in front of more than 900 guests on the night.

Queensland Tourism Industry Council Chief Executive Daniel Gschwind said the 34th Queensland Tourism Awards had attracted more than 170 entries across all award categories.

“This year’s entrants across 28 business, event and individual categories reflect the diverse and dynamic range of tourism operators helping Queensland’s tourism industry flourish,” he said.

“Queensland’s tourism industry continues to demonstrate just how invaluable its contribution is to the state’s economy, contributing $25 billion or 7.8 per cent of the state’s gross product, and employing 217,000 people.

“International visitor numbers for Queensland have seen record growth in the 12 months to June 2018, increasing 5.5 per cent. Some 2.7 million international visitors generated $5.7 billion in overnight expenditure.

“While the industry continues to see growth in visitor numbers and expenditure, Queensland must strive to remain competitive in the global market.”

The Star Entertainment Group Managing Director Queensland Geoff Hogg said they were thrilled to host the awards at the Gold Coast, the first time in nine years.

“As Major Event Partner, we are proud to host our industry’s ‘night of nights’ right here at The Star Gold Coast, where we have been part of the local community for more than 30 years,” Mr Hogg said.

“This is a golden age for tourism in Queensland and I extend my congratulations to this year’s nominees and winners for their outstanding achievements in raising the domestic and global reputation of our state.

“It’s vital that we continue to work together to develop more tourism attractions and guest experiences that will encourage longer stays and repeat visitation to this stunning part of the world we call home.”

The Queensland Tourism Awards are judged by a panel of industry experts who volunteer their time to assess written submissions and travel throughout Queensland to experience the amenities and services of nominated businesses.

Queensland’s Gold Award winners will gain automatic entry into the Qantas Australian Tourism Awards, which will be held in Tasmania on 1 March 2019.

Next year the Queensland Tourism Awards will be held at Novotel Twin Waters Resort on the Sunshine Coast on 8 November.

Recycle

17 million bottles, cans recycled in first two weeks of Qld’s new container refund scheme

MORE than $1.7 million has already been refunded to Queenslanders through the state’s new container refund scheme, Containers for Change.

Minister for Environment and the Great Barrier Reef Leeanne Enoch said more than 17 million bottles and cans were returned and recycled within the first two weeks.

Ms Enoch said the figures showed more and more Queenslanders were embracing the recycling initiative.

“It is obvious from these results that Queenslanders care about recycling, and want to improve how they manage waste,” Ms Enoch said.

“At the two week mark on Thursday, our figures were almost three times higher than what NSW recorded when their scheme first started.

“In the first two weeks of the NSW scheme, about five million containers were returned, and we had about 15 million on that day.

“Queensland is continuing to show up our rivals south of the border.

“This is also just the beginning of the scheme, and these figures will continue to grow as more Queenslanders get on board and get containers for change.”

Community organisation HELP CEO Greg Luck says that the partnership with Return-It, which operates container refund points, has been able to help place people who have been out of the workforce back into paid employment.

“We are excited to be a part of the Containers for Change scheme in Queensland, via Return-It and are very appreciative to place people who need and want the work into different jobs with Return-It,” Mr Luck said.

“This initiative complements HELP’s initiative to provide tailored employment solutions to job seekers and employers in Australia, and we are proud to partner with Return-It Queensland.”

Return-It Managing Director, David Singh said he was proud to be partnered with HELP.

“HELP plays an integral part in helping so many in our community. I think many people will opt to donate their refunds to this worthy organisation,” Mr Singh said.

“Return-It benefits the customer, the community and the environment, and we can’t wait to see how the partnership with HELP grows.”

This week marks National Recycling Week and Minister Enoch said it was a timely reminder to think about how Queensland can increase recycling and improve waste in other areas.

“This can include creating a compost for food scraps, recycling soft plastics, and jumping online to find where you can recycle other items like computers, phones, pain and white goods.”

For more information about Containers for Change and for a list of drop off locations, click here.