Severe storm warning issued for part of Wide Bay
A SEVERE thunderstorm warning has been issued for people in the Darling Downs and Granite Belt and parts of the Central Highlands and Coalfields, Wide Bay and Burnett and Southeast Coast Forecast Districts.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued the warning at 12.30pm and will do updates throughout the afternoon, though communities to be affected at this stage include Warwick, Toowoomba, Dalby, Kingaroy, Stanthorpe and Taroom.
The severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds in the warning area over the next several hours.
The next warning is due to be issued by 3.40pm.
If severe thunderstorms develop in the Southeast Queensland area (east of Dalby from Rainbow Beach to Stanthorpe), a more detailed Severe Thunderstorm Warning will be issued to people in this area.
Warnings are also available through TV and Radio broadcasts, the Bureau's website at www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 219. The Bureau and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services would appreciate warnings being broadcast regularly.
The Queensland Ambulance Service is urging everyone to be aware of the serious dangers of floodwaters, lightning, damaged trees and fallen powerlines in storm season.
QAS Director of Emergency Management Danny Murphy said every year the ambulance service was called out to help people who had not prepared for damaging storms or who took unnecessary risks during severe weather.
"Despite the fact that we go through this every storm season in Queensland, people are still seemingly caught off-guard when severe thunderstorms and flooding hit us," Mr Murphy said.
"People are still driving and walking into floodwaters and people are still being injured by falling tree branches and downed powerlines.
"As an ambulance service, we will always be there to help those in need, but we also need people to play their part and stay safe during these weather events, which are incredibly busy times for us.
"Even the simplest things can help us out - things like bringing loose items inside or tying them down in your yard so they don't become flying projectiles in strong winds will make a difference.
"You'd never forgive yourself if a piece of metal or garden furniture from your back yard seriously injured or killed one of your neighbours because you left it outside.
"Resisting the urge to go sightseeing after storms is also something we really need people to do. We have seen people tragically killed by storm-damaged trees that have fallen on them after the severe weather has passed through.
"Also, having all of your necessary medications on hand might mean the difference between needing an ambulance or being able to cope at home with a day or two of not being able to get to the shops."
Mr Murphy said floodwater was absolutely lethal and should never be driven into, walked into, swum in or played in.
"Stormwater drains, local parks that flood and flooded causeways and creeks should be absolutely avoided," he said.
"There is no way of knowing how strong the current is or what is under the surface. We've seen water subside to reveal massive washouts that would fit a large 4WD vehicle. Driving into something like that is basically a death sentence.
"People also need to understand that this water is filled with snakes, eels, sewage, broken bottles, bits of metal, dead animals and all sorts of chemicals.
"We cannot stress enough for people to stay right out of floodwater and if they see kids or skylarkers playing in it, tell them to get out immediately.
"Our Paramedics and Emergency Medical Dispatchers have a tough enough job as it is during severe weather, so the last thing we need is people getting injured through their own risk-taking behaviour,
"Please help us out and just stay home and wait until the weather has passed.
"If you are caught out and about during the storm, please just sit tight in a safe place and wait until the weather passes and the flash flooding recedes before you continue your journey.
"Look for some sturdy shelter if possible or just stay in your vehicle, but avoid huddling under trees and umbrellas if there are strong winds and lightning around."
Mr Murphy also reminded people to take care when cleaning up in the aftermath of storms.
"If you're cleaning up around the house after a storm, take a few simple precautions. Wear thick gloves and sturdy enclosed shoes for protection and be on the lookout for sharp objects," he said.
"It's also important to be aware of the dangers of fallen or damaged power lines, which may be hidden among storm debris and not immediately obvious."