Southeast Queensland was smashed by severe thunderstorms on Wednesday evening, with giant hail, 100,000 lightning strikes, flash flooding and damaging winds.

Brisbane’s peak-hour traffic was thrown into chaos with suspended trains, traffic light outages, flash flooding and hour-long delays to commuters through key inner-city routes.

Energex reported about 11,000 properties without power at 6.30pm, most on the Sunshine Coast.

Flash flooding was reported across Brisbane, with at least two vehicles caught in floodwater at Moorooka.

Rain gushes in through the broken rook of the Kmart store at Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore.
Rain gushes in through the broken rook of the Kmart store at Sunshine Plaza in Maroochydore.

Footage has emerged from inside a popular store at the Sunshine Plaza shopping centre in Maroochydore showing the roof gushing water after hail and wild storms lashed the Sunshine Coast.

Sources confirmed that Kmart’s roof had collapsed and the store was reportedly filling with water.

It’s understood Kmart was evacuated and closed to shoppers.

Giant hail was reported northwest of Brisbane at Esk, Toogoolawah, Mt Mee and Biarra.

Between 30-50mm of rainfall was recorded within 30 minutes in several areas, including Wynnum on Brisbane’s bayside and Toowoomba.

A fallen tree on a car at Nambour after wild storms smashed into southeast Queensland. Picture: Mark Furler
A fallen tree on a car at Nambour after wild storms smashed into southeast Queensland. Picture: Mark Furler

As of 11pm trains between Brisbane City and Beenleigh were still suspended due to storm-related problems with overheard power lines. Buses were operating.

TransLink said services were returning to normal on lines to Cleveland, Shorncliffe, Redcliffe, Caboolture, Sunshine Coast and Brisbane Airport.

Earlier it warned of hour-long delays to buses along Coronation Drive and Milton Rd owing to traffic congestion.

The severe weather comes after thunderstorms ravaged the southeast on Tuesday.

While storms are expected to clear for the coming days, a cold snap will sit over the southeast this weekend, with 14C minimums forecast on Friday, dropping to 10C on Monday.

Motorists were being advised to seek an alternative route and avoid Coronation Drive and Milton Rd.

All buses travelling through Brisbane’s CBD are experiencing 20-minute delays.

Flash flooding at Westlake in Brisbane's southwest. Picture via 10 News
Flash flooding at Westlake in Brisbane's southwest. Picture via 10 News

Two vehicles have been caught in flash flooding in Salisbury at the intersections of Evans

Road and Orange Grove Road.

Diversions have been set up via Beaudesert Road outbound from Moorooka heading towards Ipswich.

There are also road closures at Muriel Ave in Rocklea owing to flash flooding.

Traffic lights are flashing yellow at the intersection of Ipswich Road and Annerley Road, at the intersection of Inala Ave and Serviceton Ave, at Fairfield Rd and Ashby street, at Kingsford Smith drive in Eagle Farm.

Congestion through Brisbane’s CBD has slightly improved with delays to public transport and other motorists downgraded from an hour to 45 minutes.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned at 5.30pm that severe thunderstorms were recorded near Cleveland, Palmwoods, Nambour, Mapleton, Montville and northern Moreton Bay.

Thunderstorms are moving east towards Maroochydore, Noosa Heads, and Eumundi.

Sunshine Beach is due to be hit by thunderstorms at 6.30pm.

The next warning from the Bureau is due around 6.30pm.

Flooding at Woolloongabba in Brisbane's inner east. Picture via Higgins Storm Chasing
Flooding at Woolloongabba in Brisbane's inner east. Picture via Higgins Storm Chasing

A tree has fallen on a car on Tristan Street, Carindale, but no one was injured in the incident.

Ipswich Road has reopened after flash flooding earlier this afternoon.

Traffic lights are out, flashing yellow, on Ipswich Road near Junction Terrace.

Trains have been affected between Roma Street and Yeerongpilly due to power line outages.

A train heading southbound on the Beenleigh line, near Park Road, was stationary due to the power outages around 5.30pm.

An eerie green haze over Brisbane's CBD. Picture:Amy Knox/Facebook
An eerie green haze over Brisbane's CBD. Picture:Amy Knox/Facebook

There are power outages at the South Brisbane train station, which may affect commuters with delays to trains outbound from the city.

More flash flooding has occurred in the Moorooka area, with southbound lanes blocked at Beaudesert Rd by Police, diversions are in place.

Emergency services are urging motorists to drive carefully and reconsider travelling while the storms are ongoing.

Hail at Mt Mee northwest of Brisbane. Picture: Liz Wilson-Barnett/Facebook
Hail at Mt Mee northwest of Brisbane. Picture: Liz Wilson-Barnett/Facebook

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster, Peter Markworth, said that the risk of ‘giant hail’ has passed, with heavy rainfall posing the most significant threat as the storms pass across the southeast corner.

Rainfall figures are starting to come in as the system moves across the CBD.

Stormclouds over Yeronga in Brisbane's south. Picture: Bree Jade/Facebook
Stormclouds over Yeronga in Brisbane's south. Picture: Bree Jade/Facebook

Rainfall totals reached 30-40mm within 30 minutes, but those were expected to increase due to the rapidly moving cells.

A spokesman for Energex said 3600 homes were without power around Inala and Oxley and near Caboolture.

The spokesman said they were recording around 23,000 lightning strikes an hour in the Greater Brisbane area around 5pm.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned that, at 4.30pm, very dangerous thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near Caboolture, Lake Samsonvale, Dayboro and Wamuran.

The thunderstorms were moving towards the east.

Very dangerous thunderstorms were forecast to affect Strathpine, Redcliffe, Beerburrum and northern Bribie Island by 5pm and northern Moreton Island, Comboyuro Point, Cape Moreton and waters off Bribie Island by 5.30pm.

Hail at Biarra northwest of Brisbane. Picture: Jennifer Mortimer/Facebook
Hail at Biarra northwest of Brisbane. Picture: Jennifer Mortimer/Facebook

Other severe thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near Jimna, Wacol, Upper Brookfield, Enoggera Reservoir and Greenbank.

They were forecast to affect Brisbane CBD, Beenleigh, Logan City and Borumba Dam by 5pm and Cleveland, Nambour, Mapleton and Yandina by 5:30pm.

Green storm clouds move over Brisbane city. Photographer: Liam Kidston
Green storm clouds move over Brisbane city. Photographer: Liam Kidston

Giant hailstones, destructive winds and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding are likely.

Hail 5cm in size was reported south of Toogoolawah at 3.20pm.

It came after a very dangerous storm has seen giant hail smash into areas near Esk. It is tracking northeast and is forecast to hit Somerset Dam, Toogoolawah and Lake Somerset by 3.45pm and Kilcoy, the area west of Kilcoy and Mount Mee by 4.15pm.

Giant hailstones, damaging winds and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding are likely.

Earlier, a severe storm warning was issued for parts of Ipswich, Somerset, Scenic Rim, Toowoomba and Lockyer Valley council areas about 2.40pm.

Storm clouds over Brisbane on Wednesday. Picture: Liam Kidston
Storm clouds over Brisbane on Wednesday. Picture: Liam Kidston

Storms producing damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding are moving east.

They were forecast to impact Laidley, Gatton, the area west of Esk and the area northwest of Esk by 3pm and Esk, northern Lake Wivenhoe, Somerset Dam and Toogoolawah by 3.30pm.

The Bureau of Meteorology is urging people in the “impact zones” to “take action to stay safe”.

According to BOM, severe thunderstorms could potentially develop along a line between Rolleston and Warwick.

Locations likely to be impacted include Warwick, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Gympie, Ipswich, Kingaroy, Caboolture, Gatton and Jimboomba.

Queensland storm warnings stretch for almost 3000km on Wednesday.
Queensland storm warnings stretch for almost 3000km on Wednesday.

The Bureau of Meteorology earlier today warned residents from Bamaga, at the top of the state, all the way to the southern border to prepare for thunderstorms that could potentially bring in hail, heavy falls and damaging winds.

Just before midday, a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for parts of Central Highlands and Coalfields, Wide Bay and Burnett, Maranoa and Warrego, Darling Downs and Granite Belt and Southeast Coast forecast districts.

Severe thunderstorms, likely to produce damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding are currently occurring in the Darling Downs, with Toowoomba, Dalby, Caboolture, Ipswich, Gatton and Oakey all in the firing line.

Storm clouds over Brisbane on Wednesday. Picture: Liam Kidston
Storm clouds over Brisbane on Wednesday. Picture: Liam Kidston

Sky News chief meteorologist Tom Saunders said southeast Queensland and eastern NSW were experiencing a “late season storm outbreak”.

“The storm season generally finished up in April but right now we’re seeing explosive storms in this region,” he said.

“A cold pool of air moving aloft across NSW, meanwhile at the surface temperatures are slightly above average and as a result we’re seeing an unstable atmosphere leading to further thunderstorms on Wednesday.”

Mr Saunders said severe storms were “essentially guaranteed” in southeast Queensland and northeast NSW on Wednesday with further damaging winds, hail and flash flooding.

Strong storms with heavy rain and golf ball-sized hailstones smashed the southeast corner on Tuesday night with more expected to continue on Wednesday.

Hailstones about 3cm to 4cm large fell in the Toowoomba region from 7.30pm to 8.30pm.

Joel R Dobson snapped this amazing lightning photo on May 11, 2021.
Joel R Dobson snapped this amazing lightning photo on May 11, 2021.

Meanwhile, rainfalls reached tops of 92mm overnight north of Toowoomba in Mt Mowbullan and 79mm in Forest Hill west of Ipswich.

Wyaralong Dam in the Scenic Rim was this morning spilling, following the heavy falls.

Power was again knocked out to thousands of homes.

The southern end of the state felt the brunt of the rain with Gold Coast having 21mm overnight and Wynnum south of Brisbane seeing 50mm.

Natalya K Edser's photo of hail across the Darling Downs on May 11, 2021.
Natalya K Edser's photo of hail across the Darling Downs on May 11, 2021.

But the worst might not be over as more storms are expected to hit today before it finally clears up.

The 9.40pm severe thunderstorm warning showed multiple cells scattered across the southeast.
The 9.40pm severe thunderstorm warning showed multiple cells scattered across the southeast.

“There’s still a risk of severe thunderstorms all through the south east,” meteorologist Shane Kennedy from BOM said.

“Risks of large hail, damaging wind gusts and heavy rainfall will continue through the evening and should start pushing off shore overnight so it should largely be done soon after midnight and by mid morning on Thursday it should be all done.”

Daniel Hager's photo of hail in Newtown on May 11, 2021.
Daniel Hager's photo of hail in Newtown on May 11, 2021.

Rachel Berry snapped this photo of hail in Harristown on May 11, 2021.
Rachel Berry snapped this photo of hail in Harristown on May 11, 2021.

A cold snap will then hit by the weekend with lows expected to hit 14C on Friday and even 10C on Monday morning in Brisbane city.

It comes after severe thunderstorms swept across parts of Brisbane and the southeast overnight from Monday night into Tuesday.

Harna Leigh Robertson submitted this photo of hail in her backyard on May 11, 2021.
Harna Leigh Robertson submitted this photo of hail in her backyard on May 11, 2021.

Jen Ty Bowes' photo of the Toowoomba hailstorm on May 11, 2021.
Jen Ty Bowes' photo of the Toowoomba hailstorm on May 11, 2021.

The early morning storms punctuated by 66,000 lightning strikes, strong winds and heavy rain knocked out power to thousands of homes, with as many as 5000 in Brisbane, Ipswich and Logan still without electricity hours later.

BRISBANE Queensland

SUNSHINE COAST Queensland

GOLD COAST Queensland

Originally published as Storm carnage: Power outages, 100k lightning strikes, Kmart roof caves in



Deputy mayor hits out at insurers over ‘lagging’ repairs

Premium Content Deputy mayor hits out at insurers over ‘lagging’ repairs

The damage bill for the storms, which caused havoc and huge damage to properties in...

WATCH LIVE: Titans Schools League

Premium Content WATCH LIVE: Titans Schools League

Your home of school rugby league, News Corp, will livestream all the Titans Schools...

How to ensure a smooth transition to our new site

How to ensure a smooth transition to our new site

Just days left to make switch to our new platform much easier