National weather: Rain belt to hit east coast, thunderstorms, hail

A massive 2000km rain belt is forecast to push across the eastern states, bringing intense thunderstorms and possible large hailstones.

A cold front is expected to hit Far West NSW on Wednesday afternoon, according to Sky News.

Meteorologist Alison Osborne said the weather system would bring widespread rain and thunderstorms to the region, though heaviest falls are likely to stay west of the Great Dividing Range.

Northerly winds will push a 2000km rain band from Queensland down to northern Victoria on Thursday evening but will move quickly out to sea by Friday morning.

Up to 25mm is expected to fall in large parts of southern Queensland, the Murray Darling Basin, northern Victoria and South Australia over the next eight days.

“A burst of severe storm activity will hit South Australia on Wednesday due to a rain band that is pushing over the state,” Ms Osborne said.

Thunderstorms are likely to settle in over the state into the evening as the cold front sweeps through.

Flash flooding, large hailstones and damaging wind gusts are likely in the evening and into Thursday.

“The hit-and-miss nature of these storms, it’ difficult to predict exactly which town it will impact,” Ms Osborne said.

Long-term flooding continues to grip the Murray-Basin and a major flood threat will remain for Central West NSW near Dubbo and Orange.

Showers will clear out of the southeast late on Saturday and then another cold front will move in late on Sunday.

Southerly winds will also create a noticeable temperature drop in the southern states by the end of the weekend, with showers persisting over parts of the state.

Originally published as 2000km rain belt to bring hail and thunderstorms

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