Parts of south-east Queensland are being battered by heavy rain in a soggy start to the new year, with dangerous flooding predicted.
Intense falls in some areas could lead to life-threatening flash flooding, the Bureau of Meteorology warned on Monday afternoon.
Upper Springbrook on the Gold Coast had already recorded 389mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am on Monday, while 276mm fell at Little Nerang Dam and 264mm at Hotham Creek, near Pimpama.
A flood warning has been issued for the Nerang, Pimpama and Coomera Rivers, where water levels are expected to continue rising with periods of intense rain.
“The heaviest rainfall will be associated with shower and thunderstorm activity, which is likely to be hit and miss in nature across the warning area,” the bureau said.
“There remains some uncertainty in the movement and timing of features but the heavy rainfall risk is expected to persist into Tuesday afternoon.”
Eighteen roads on the Gold Coast were closed on Monday morning due to flooding.
Queensland police urged people to resist travel as wild weather returned to the south-east.
“Even in the early hours of this morning we were detecting drivers speeding, not driving to the conditions and being an absolute menace,” assistant commissioner, Chris Stream, said.
Queensland’s south-east has been lashed by severe weather since Christmas Day, with storms leaving more than 100,000 residents without power.
Acting environment minister, Grace Grace, told reporters 80% to 90% of those affected now had their power restored but those still without may have to wait until 5 January to be reconnected.
“There are still some areas around Jimboomba, Mount Tamborine where we’re having to rebuild the network,” she said.
“We’ve got every available crew on deck making sure they can restore them but with weather like today and the severe weather warning is causing a bit of havoc with that.”
Flash floods could also affect northern NSW, with residents in Lismore, Tweed Heads, Murwillumbah, Byron Bay, Casino and Kyogle told to stay informed about developing conditions.
Persistent showers are expected to continue throughout Monday with potential three to six-hourly rainfall totals between 80mm and 160mm and 24-hourly totals exceeding 250mm.
“Localised intense rainfall is possible under areas of persistent heavy thunderstorms,” the bureau said.
In the 24 hours to 9am on Monday, Limpinwood in NSW received 307mm, Numinbah 297mm, Coffs Harbour airport 205mm and Sawtell 190mm.
By contrast large swathes of northern Australia have had a sweltering start to the new year, with temperatures soaring into the 40s.
A heatwave warning is in place for parts of Queensland, the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
In WA, Marble Bar is expected to reach 45C on Tuesday with similar maximums forecast across the next seven days.
The town’s heat gauge has been showing scorching temperatures higher than the bureau’s official readings in recent days, with thermometers at the local RSL registering 51C.
The heatwave conditions are expected to ease slightly throughout the week in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions.