Storm clouds roll in from the north over the Fitzroy River.
Storm clouds roll in from the north over the Fitzroy River.

Weather watch: Experts warn residents to be ready for storms

CENTRAL Queensland residents should prepare for another day of unstable weather, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.

In its forecast for the Capricornia district today the Bureau predicted severe thunderstorm activity.

“A high near New Zealand maintains a weak ridge along the tropical east coast, while a high west of Tasmania extends a ridge over southwest Queensland,” the Bureau said.

“A slow moving trough extends from the Gulf Country southward through the eastern inland, with moist and unstable air to its north and east.

“A series of upper level troughs will move across central and southern parts of the state, enhancing the instability and supporting severe thunderstorms over eastern parts of the state during Tuesday and Wednesday.”

Forecasters said conditions should stabilise about the east on Thursday as the trough pushed offshore.

The looming threat of severe storms comes after several days of instability, which has led to heavy rain in some parts of the CQ district, as well as a hailstorm in Byfield which uprooted trees and caused damaged to properties.

In the 24 hours to 9am, Byfield recorded 47mm of rain, while falls of 39mm and 38mm were recorded at Marlborough to the north and Castlehope in the Gladstone region respectively.

The latest forecast has prompted the RACQ to urge residents to prepare now before it is too late.

RACQ spokeswoman Lucinda Ross said very dangerous storms were expected.

“Right across the state, people need to be prepared and take this warning seriously,” Ms Ross said.

“We have already at RACQ received more than 400 claims for home and vehicle damage over the last few days alone and we expect that number to rise in the days to come.

“As we do have these warnings in effect now, make sure you get out there, clean up those yards, make sure your gutters are clear of any debris or leaves, make sure you are cleaning up the loose items like outdoor furniture and trampolines from around the property, secure them, garage them so they don’t become a projectile in a storm.”

RSPCA Queensland’s Michael Beatty also urged pet owners to make certain their pets had identification ahead of the predicted storms.

“After every storm we end up with reports of lost – and found – and traumatised animals, many without any identification,” Mr Beatty said.

“Some dogs in particular suffer from what we call storm or firework ‘phobia’.

“Often they will sense the storm coming long before humans can, and the noise of the thunder absolutely terrifies them. They then try to escape from areas they normally wouldn’t think of leaving.”

The RSPCA Qld advises people to keep their animals in a safe and secure environment when leaving them home alone, as Queensland storms continue.

“If you know they suffer from storm phobia it’s ideally best to keep them inside. You can also leave a radio on as that will help as well,” he said.

The RSPCA’s Senior Veterinarian Dr Anne Chester said animals were more likely to cope with a storm if they were left in an environment where they felt comfortable.

“They can become very distressed, and with severe winds predicted, people need to clear any loose objects from the animal’s immediate area,” Dr Chester said.

Owners of smaller pets are also being urged to use common sense when it comes to leaving their animals out during storms.

Dr Chester said the RSPCA dealt with cases of guinea pigs that had drowned after being kept in hutches in the back yard.

“It’s all common sense really, but sometimes common sense is sadly lacking,” she said.

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