Wild Australian Storms close beaches; power outages

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A storm forming off the gold coastWILD weather has closed beaches on the Gold and Sunshine coasts and caused power outages throughout Queensland’s south-east.

Gold Coast City Council lifeguard superintendent Peter Ball said all beaches had been closed because of dangerous rips and swells.

“There’s erosion in some areas like Burleigh and Currumbin,” Mr Ball told AAP.

Sunshine Coast Regional Council lifeguard Ryan Gaylard said the rips and currents were so strong that experienced surfers were struggling in the difficult conditions.

“They can’t get out past the break or are being pushed way up the beach,” Mr Gaylard said.

“The kite surfers are the only people having a great time with the winds.”

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jonty Hall said while the rain had eased today, more was expected tomorrow as another fierce pattern moved through the south-east.

“We have a new upper trough system moving through central Australia which will re-energise the whole thing over south-east Queensland tomorrow,” Mr Hall said.

“It should produce decent falls over inland south-east Queensland as well, including the dam catchments.”

An SEQWater spokesman said heavy falls over the weekend might lift Brisbane’s dams above 40 per cent of capacity.

An Energex spokesman said in the past 24 hours 20,000 customers in south-east Queensland had lost power, with 900 still without power in Greenbank, in Brisbane’s south-west.

“The longest people lost power for was about two hours,” the spokesman said.

An Emergency Management Queensland spokesman said the State Emergency Service (SES) had received around 150 calls for help in the past couple of days, mainly for leaking roofs and fallen trees.

The spokesman said Hervey Bay had been the area worst affected, with 12 homes flooded. Homes on the Sunshine Coast, hit by floods last August, were also damaged.

The weather is hurting south-east Queensland’s tourism industry, which is struggling to recover from rain during the summer peak season and other pressures.

“It’s been rough for tourism in Queensland with the Qantas announcement (to cut flights to the state), the ongoing struggle with the Australian dollar, fuel prices, and a rugged start weather-wise to the year,”
Queensland Tourism Council chief executive Daniel Gschwind told AAP.

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