Why heavy rain followed by high winds in south east Queensland pose a unique threat?

Just when you thought Mother Nature had thrown it all over Australia’s east coast in recent months, tougher weather warnings came in the form of strong winds.

These pose threats of their own, with authorities warning that the combination of wet ground and high winds creates dangerous conditions.

What are they worried about?

Weather and emergency authorities warn that trees and power lines are likely to fall, endangering people and homes.

After record-breaking rainfall in May, the soil is saturated, meaning tree roots can’t hold on as tightly as they usually do in drier soils.

Now add a gust of wind, and those trees could topple.

In a weather warning this morning, the weather agency predicts that “damaging winds with peaks of gusts in excess of 90 kilometers per hour are possible over the southeastern interior, extending across the south east, including Brisbane, Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast.

Strong winds in southeastern Queensland caused damage to trees after months of rain.ABC News: Alexandria Utting

“Saturated soils in southeastern Queensland pose an increased risk of wind gusts knocking over trees and power lines,” warns the Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

Early Tuesday morning, a tree fell on power lines in Kenmore, setting off a series of sparks and threatening a fire.

A neighbor captured spectacular footage of the incident.

Sparks coming from power lines in the dark.
The falling tree in Kenmore has broken power lines and threatened to start a fire. Facebook: Agnela Burke

There have also been reports of trees in Carseldine and East Brisbane.

Queensland Fire and Emergency Services have received 33 calls for help since 7am, mainly for fallen trees and branches and some for roof damage.

But the BOM warns that falling trees can occur in a large number of locations.

“Locations that may be affected include Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Maroochydore, Gympie, Stanthorpe and Ipswich,” it said.

When will it decrease again?

Helen Reid from the weather bureau said winds are expected to continue through Wednesday and beyond, although things are calming down for Brisbane.

“It is possible that there is another [damaging winds] warning in the surrounding regions [Brisbane] at least also in the course of tomorrow’, said the forecaster.

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