29 November 2023

SES and Fire and Rescue receive 81 requests for assistance in less than a day as severe thunderstorms hit ACT

| Lizzie Waymouth
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ESA on roof

There have been more than 147 requests for assistance in the ACT since last Monday when the current round of unsettled weather began. Photo: ESA.

The ACT’s emergency services are reminding Canberrans to stay safe as severe thunderstorms and heavy rain strike the capital this afternoon (29 November).

The ACT State Emergency Service and ACT Fire and Rescue said, as of 11 am today, it has received approximately 81 requests for assistance since 2 pm yesterday.

There have been more than 147 requests for assistance in the ACT since last Monday (20 November) when the current round of unsettled weather began, most of which have been for water leaks.

Another storm is hitting the ACT this afternoon, with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of the ACT at 11:19 am this morning, updated to a detailed warning at 12:10 pm.

The Bureau warns that, as of 1 pm, severe thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near Belconnen, Hall and Gungahlin.

These thunderstorms are moving towards the southeast and are forecast to affect Canberra and Queanbeyan by 1:30 pm, and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding is likely.

ACT ESA said it has established an Incident Management Team to coordinate the response.

READ ALSO Yellow-bellied sea snakes wash up all along the South Coast this week

A more general severe thunderstorm warning is also in place for the Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes, Australian Capital Territory and parts of the Hunter, Illawarra, South Coast, North West Slopes and Plains, Central West Slopes and Plains, Riverina, Snowy Mountains and Lower Western districts.

The Bureau said “very dangerous thunderstorms with locally intense rainfall” are possible for the South Coast.

“An upper-level low over western New South Wales is maintaining unstable conditions across large parts of the state today. Intense rainfall possible with persistent showers and thunderstorms over parts of the South Coast,” a Bureau spokesperson said.

BOM map

More thunderstorms hit the ACT at about 1 pm today. Image: BOM.

Between 9 am on Tuesday and 11 am today, Canberra recorded more than 55 mm of rain, Tuggeranong more than 60 mm and Mt Ginini 94 mm.

The ESA said there is a current flood warning for the Queanbeyan River at Queens Bridge. Water levels for the Molonglo River at Oaks Estate are being monitored and rising steadily but have not reached flood levels.

“Current forecasts indicate rain will continue through much of today, and the ACT ESA urges people to be careful and stay up to date with warnings that may be issued,” a spokesperson said.

READ ALSO Homes flooded on South Coast as several severe weather warnings issued across the state

The ACT SES advises, if it is safe to do so:

  • Move your car under cover or away from trees.
  • Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
  • Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences.
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
  • Don’t walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water.
  • Stay indoors away from windows and keep children and pets indoors as well.
  • For assistance during storms and floods, call the ACTSES on 132 500.

In a life-threatening emergency, call Triple Zero (000).

Stay vigilant and monitor conditions, and stay up to date via the ESA website or social media channels.

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