Weather forecast: NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and Queensland hit by severe thunderstorms, floods and heavy rain

A funnel cloud has been observed alongside a super cell in Charters Towers, bringing fears of a tornado in Queensland’s north.

Whether the cloud will worsen into a tornado is yet to be confirmed, according to Queensland Incidents.

“There is no confirmation of this funnel touching down as a tornado,” the organisation said,.

A giant 3500km storm band ominously hung over eastern Australia on Thursday night, with the severe thunderstorms and heavy rain expected to continue into early next week.

NSW and Queensland faced the prospect of “life-threatening” flash flooding earlier on Friday, with authorities remaining on high alert for any renewed river rises.

A slow moving low pressure system has hit south eastern and eastern parts of the country throughout the week, with already soaked or flooded communities in its firing line.

A severe thunderstorm warning from the Bureau of Meteorology is current for Queensland, while multiple areas in Victoria, NSW and Tasmania are on high alert for more rain.

“Plenty of big thunderstorms around in recent days and they‘re going to keep on coming right through the rest of this week and into the start of next week as well, as the storm outbreak lingers until at least Tuesday,” Sky News meteorologist Rob Sharpe said.

“An array of showers and storms mainly over NSW and Queensland at the moment, but I will drift a little bit further south into Victoria through Friday as well with storms building up into the afternoon.

“Even a little bit of rain into northern parts of Tasmania.”

But over the weekend another low pressure system will form around South Australia before moving southeast and bringing renewed rainfall.

“More wet weather starting to build up in South Australia on the weekend and that‘s going to turn into our next low pressure system that will form by Monday over the southeastern mainland and then is likely to drift,” Mr Sharpe said.

“Wet weather building up again through Sunday and then into Monday into the southeast with the potential that we may see some heavy rain in parts of Tasmania, Victoria or NSW through the start of next week.”

Widespread falls of 50 to 100mm are likely from central Queensland all the way down to Tasmania over the coming days.

Heavy 100mm rainfall totals are also possible in some areas, while isolated totals of up to 20mm could fall in select regions depending on thunderstorm activity.

Here’s what you need to know in each state.


The Murray River in Echuca is expected to hit rise to around 94.8m on Sunday before it passed 95m in the ensuing days, which would be the town’s worst flood event in more than 150 years.

The highest recorded flood level is 96.2m set back in 1870, with around 2000 properties expected to be impacted over the coming days.

Evacuation orders are still in place for Echuca, while “not safe to return” emergency warnings have been issued for Murchison and Bunbartha.

Kerang residents were also told on Wednesday that it was “too late to leave”, as the town faced the prospect of being isolated for around two weeks.

River heights of around 78m are expected, but it is anticipated Kerang will have supplies and be protected by a levee.

The sewer network in Rochester at Ballarat is now partially operational, though Coliban Water has warned customers it will be unreliable and they should expect outages.

The longer rebuild of the network will take up to six to eight weeks, with residents urged to keep showers to four minutes, avoid baths where possible and consider washing loads.

Victorian SES chief officer operations Tim Wiebusch said isolated thunderstorms could bring 20-30mm of rain on Friday and Saturday, but the situation would not be as dangerous as recent weather events.

“The key difference is we won’t see that widespread rain band with hundreds of millimetres of rain like we saw in the previous event,” he told ABC News Breakfast on Friday.

“This is very much about localised flooding … if we’re unlucky enough to get two or three days over the same places with these storms, then that will potentially put some of our rivers into renewed rises.”

A senior SES volunteer spoke out against the organisation, saying residents in Melbourne’s north west could have been given six to nine hours notice to prepare for the floods in Maribyrnong.

Footscray SES deputy controller of partnerships and community engagement Dr Faye Bendrups said lessons need to be learnt for the next time the state is hit by floods.

“It seems the next time around those leanings aren‘t remembered or aren’t implemented and we go through the same problems again, and again, and again,” she told the Today show on Thursday.

“Had they have got that warning six to nine hours earlier, how much more they could have done to save their possessions, their important documents, their cars, whatever it might have been, and to try to organise their own feelings and response on that day.”

“We need to involve the community more in emergency response and emergency management because they are the ones, if you like, who are the ‘end users’, they’re the people in the end having to manage themselves and manage their own lives when it disrupted catastrophically.”

The SES has received more than 8000 requests for assistance since the flood event started last week. Almost 730 of those were flood rescues.

As of Thursday afternoon, 444 roads were closed throughout the state, while 56 schools and 61 early learning centres did not open.

Since the floods started, 35,500 potholes have also been repaired across 350 roads.

Four hundred ADF personnel are in Victoria to assist with the floods, while two CH-47 Chinook helicopters are also supporting evacuation and resupply efforts.

Around 50,000 homes, 14 hospitals and 300 schools and early childhood facilities have been identified within flood-impacted areas as of Wednesday.

On Thursday, the state government announced the vaccination for Japanese encephalitis would be free to flood-affected communities.

This was accompanied by $6.5m in funding to deliver health protection initiatives such as a dedicated monitoring and control system to prevent and control disease-carrying mosquitoes.

A further $13.4m was allocated to send 200 hospital staff to flood-affected areas for three months.

There will also be a $5.2m community support emergency flood assistance program, where impacted sports clubs can get an initial payment of $5000.

In Victoria there are more than 50 flood warnings in place, with six being emergency warnings.


  • Kerang (too late to leave)
  • Barmah and Lower Moira (too late to leave)
  • Bunbartha (not safe to return)
  • Echuca and Echuca Village (evacuate immediately)
  • Campaspe River downstream of Rochester (move to higher ground)
  • Loddon River Loddon Weir to Kerang (move to higher ground)


A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for eastern NSW and the north west slopes and plains.

Damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall that may occur throughout Friday, with locations like Moree, Narrabri, Wee Waa and Bellata possibly in the firing line.

The bureau earlier warned the storms may produce “dangerous and life-threatening flash flooding” in the north west slopes and plains and northern tablelands.

The situation will be monitored throughout Friday and further warnings will be issued if necessary.

NSW State Emergency Services deputy commissioner Ken Murphy said there was still “a long journey” facing their volunteers as the weather threat continued.

“We will be doing extensive work today with our Victorian colleagues to determine additional assistance that we can provide each other through the community areas and that includes the establishment of welfare centres and things of that nature to assist those communities,” he told the ABC News Breakfast on Friday.

Earlier this week, he said the floods would continue “for a number of months” throughout the state.

New emergency warnings were issued for Terry Hie Hie and north east Narrabri, with residents told to “move to higher ground”.

Moree, in the state’s north, copped a drenching overnight, with more than 110mm of rain falling in just six hours.

In Moana, 300 people were evacuated on Tuesday, while thousands more in the area are on alert.

Around 75 people have registered themselves at an evacuation centre in Moana, though a number of them are from Victoria.

Two base camps have been established to accommodate up to 550 people, while the SES has dispatched more than 125,000 sandbags into the community.

Residents in Forbes in the state’s Central West also had to be evacuated last week after dangerous floods hit the area.

Ivanhoe in western NSW recorded 70mm of rain on Wednesday, making it the wettest October day on record.

Up to 100 ADF members are assisting in NSW and a helicopter for night search and rescue is on standby.

In NSW more than 75 flood warnings are in place, with 10 of them being emergency warnings.


  • North-East Narrabri (move to higher ground)
  • Terry Hie Hie (move to higher ground)
  • Picnic Point, Mathoura East (evacuate)
  • Moama Caravan and Tourist Parks (evacuate)
  • Cummeragunja (evacuate)
  • Backwater Creek, Moama (evacuate)
  • Parts of Narrandera South (evacuate)
  • South West Narrandera (evacuate)
  • Parts of East Moama (evacuate)
  • Murray Valley Regional Park (evacuate)


Severe thunderstorms will likely continue in parts of Queensland throughout Friday and into Saturday.

A “very moist and unstable air mass” has created favourable conditions for severe storms to develop, which may lead to flooding, damaging winds and large hail.

Locations that may be affected include Moree, Narrabri, Wee Waa and Bellata.

A major flood warning has been issued for the Macintyre River and moderate flooding is expected for the Weir River.

Goondiwindi is expected to receive moderate flooding on Friday evening, with the potential for that to turn into a major incident late on Saturday.

There are also initial flood warnings for the Warrill Creek, Upper Dawson River Catchments and Mary River

Moderate flood warnings have also been issued for the Bulloo and Paroo rivers, while various other flood watches and warnings are active for catchments across the state.

There were also fears of giant hail stones on Thursday, which are more than 5cm wide and bigger than a golf ball.


An initial flood watch has been issued for northwest, north, northeast and Derwent river catchments, which are expected to rise from Friday.

Moderate rainfall is expected to cause minor flooding in those areas from late Friday, while moderate flooding could occur in some locations.

Further showers and possible thunderstorms are likely across the state during Saturday, especially in the east.

Rainfall totals of 20-50mm are likely from Friday evening and during Saturday across elevated areas in the northwest and northeast of the state.

Originally published as Reports of a ominous funnel cloud as severe thunderstorms slam south east

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