Midnight hailstorm smashes the Gold Coast

UPDATE at 2:30 AM | A SEVERE thunderstorm pummeled parts of the Gold Coast last night, smashing suburbs with ferocious winds, torrential rain and copious amounts of hail.

The fierce storm formed south of the border late on Wednesday and tracked northeast over Springbrook before hurtling towards the northern Gold Coast during the evening.

The weather bureau reissued its warning for the Coast about 10pm, an hour before the cell smashed into Pacific Pines and went on to hammer Helensvale, Oxenford, Upper Coomera and Hope Island.


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Backyards were blanketed in hail at Helensvale | Photos: Supplied/Brody Symonds

The cell blanketed several suburbs in hail and dumped more than a month’s worth of rain in some far northern areas.

Naomi Howell lives at Pacific Pines and told myGC the storm hit with such force, it sounded like a “mini cyclone”.

“I thought my windows were going to break from the hail – It was like a mini-cyclone,” she said.

Jodi Wheeler told myGC the windows were also shaking at her home in Helensvale, while Sally Wallace said hailstones the size of 10-cent coins fell at her place in Upper Coomera.

Smaller hail was reported at Coombabah. April Gasbarra lives near the nature reserve and said the storm “sounded like a stampede trying to break down the door”.

“Ours was only small, but they hit hard and wind threw it against the wall under cover,” she said.

“A gush of ice and water came in over the front step, underneath the front door and into the house.”

Backyards were blanketed in hail at Helensvale | Photos: Supplied/Brody Symonds

The intense late storm was the first of the season to hit the Gold Coast and caught many residents by surprise.

Heather McCabe was driving when the wild weather hit. She was terrified and left “shaking in tears”.

“It was the scariest thing ever,” she said. “I hope I never had to face weather like that whilst driving again.”

“I was shaking and in tears while stopped in the middle of the road. I couldn’t even see the lights from my high beams.”

After pelting Pacific Pines and Helensvale with hail, the storm lashed suburbs further north with torrential rain.

Melissa Ballinger Keevers lives in Pimpama and described it as a “wall of wind and rain”.

“I heard something, went to the back door and eventually I realised it was a wall of wind and rain heading towards me, I could hear the wind and rain on the roof of houses.”

The heaviest rain fell at Ormeau and Jacobs Well, with both locations receiving 48mm in a matter of minutes, while 38mm fell at Helensvale.

A second, smaller storm followed closely behind and impacted the same area about 90 minutes later.

Storm 1 (left): Radar image at 11:00pm – Storm 2 (Right): Radar image at 12:30am | Source: Weatherzone

The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast a 60 per cent chance of showers on the Coast on Thursday, with the chance of a thunderstorm “in the morning and afternoon”.

UPDATE at 11:15 PM on WEDNESDAY | The Bureau of Meteorology warns that, at 11:15 pm, severe thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near Coomera, Hope Island, Nerang and Border Ranges National Park.

These thunderstorms are moving towards the northeast and are forecast to affect South Stradbroke Island, Jacobs Well and Russell Island by 11:45 pm and Canungra, Mount Tamborine and Point Lookout by 12:15 am.

Damaging winds and large hailstones are likely.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advise 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 10:35 PM | The Bureau of Meteorology warns that, at 10:35 pm, severe thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near Lamington National Park and the area south of Canungra.

These thunderstorms are moving towards the northeast and are forecast to affect Mudgeeraba, Canungra and Nerang by 11:05 pm and Mount Tamborine, Coomera and Hope Island by 11:35 pm.

The weather bureau warns damaging winds and large hailstones are likely. Hail 3.5cm wide was observed at Marburg just after 8.30pm. See the latest track map below.

UPDATE at 10:00 PM | THE Bureau of Meteorology has updated its severe thunderstorm warning to include people in parts of the Gold Coast as a new storm tracks north over the NSW border.

The weather bureau warns the storm, near the Border Ranges National Park, is moving towards the northeast and is likely to produce damaging winds and large hailstones. See the latest track map below, issued at 9:55pm.

No exact locations were under direct threat at the time of writing, though the weather bureau says the storm could maintain its strength as its move off the coast. The cell was roughly 40km southwest of the Coast at 10pm.

The updated warning also covers a separate storm impacting areas further north near Burpengary.

It too is moving towards the northeast and is forecast to affect Caboolture, Rathdowney and Beachmere by 10:25 pm and Caloundra, the area southwest of Caloundra and waters off Caloundra by 10:55pm.

The weather bureau says 3.5cm hail was observed at Marburg just after 8.30pm.

UPDATE at 6:00 PM | THE threat of severe thunderstorms has passed on the Gold Coast.

The Bureau of Meteorology cancelled the warning at 5:50 pm, advising severe storms were no longer occurring in Queensland.

The bureau says while the immediate threat has passed, the situation will continue to be monitored and further warnings will be issued if necessary.

It comes after a series of severe storms – the first of the season – swept through parts of the scenic rim and threatened to hit the Coast on Wednesday afternoon.

Wind gusts of 70km/h and copious amounts of small hail was recorded as one of the cells moved through Beaudesert about 5:00pm.

Larger hail up to 3cm wide was reported around the Kooralbyn area.

UPDATE at 5:00 PM | PARTS of the Gold Coast are now included in the Bureau of Meteorology’s latest severe thunderstorm warning.

The weather bureau warns that at 5:05 pm, severe thunderstorms were detected radar near Rathdowney and Lamington National Park.

These storms are moving towards the northeast and are forecast to affect Little Nerang Dam, Laravale and Kooralbyn by 5:35 pm and Beaudesert, Mudgeeraba, and Nerang by 6:05 pm.

The bureau warns “damaging winds and large hailstones are likely”.

The weather bureau says storms are likely to continue in the warning area for the “next several hours”.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services advise 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 4:05 PM | A SEVERE thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of the Scenic Rim.

The Bureau of Meteorology warns that, at 4:05pm, severe thunderstorms were detected near Urbenville in NSW and the area south of the NSW border.

These thunderstorms are moving towards the northeast and are forecast to affect Mount Barney, Laravale and Kooralbyn by 4:35pm and Beaudesert, Canungra and Mount Tamborine by 5:05pm.

The weather bureau warns damaging winds and large hailstones are likely.

FIRST at 12:30 PM | SHOWERS are increasing across the Gold Coast this afternoon ahead of a possible late thunderstorm.

The Bureau of Meteorology says there’s a high chance of storms firing up across the southeast this afternoon, as a series of upper-level troughs combine with a moist onshore airflow.

In its official state forecast, the weather bureau says, “a few of the storms may become severe over the far southeast inland in the late afternoon and evening.”

At midday, heavy showers were detected on weather radar near Ormeau and Jacobs Well. These showers were tracking east, off the coast.

Light showers were also falling along the Hinterland, including at Mount Tamborine and Springbrook.

The direct easterly, onshore winds arrived just before midday and dropped temperatures by two degrees.

It’s now 19 degrees at the Gold Coast Seaway, falling from a top of 21.1 degrees reached just before 11am.

Looking ahead, and it’s tipped to be a much warmer end to the working week.

If the current forecast holds, the weather bureau says we could see daytime temperatures up around 25 degrees on Friday, followed by a warm 27 degrees on Saturday.

For life threatening emergencies phone Triple Zero000

Phone 132 500 for SES Storm and Flood Emergency assistance. Queensland Health 13 HEALTH (13 43 25 84). Queensland Traffic and Travel information 13 19 40.

Jaydan is a Digital News Producer at myGC.com.au. He was appointed Managing Editor of the Junee Southern Cross newspaper at the age of 17 and has since held positions in a number of newsrooms in New South Wales and Queensland. Jaydan joined the Hot Tomato Broadcasting Company in 2013 and has been keeping the Gold Coast up to date with the latest local, national and international news online at myGC.com.au ever since. With almost ten years’ experience in both print and digital media Jaydan is committed to providing the best coverage during major news and weather events.

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