Storms across south-east Queensland last night caused chaos at the Brisbane Airport but brought much-needed rain to the parched region. The thunderstorms blacked out about 22,000 homes and businesses. The worst hit areas were Brisbane's northern suburbs and Ipswich, west of the city. Electricity maintenance crews are gradually restoring power in south-east Queensland this morning. The storms also brought down powerlines on the rail line at Lindum in Brisbane's east, causing problems on the Cleveland line. Most of the highest rainfall was north of Brisbane with 135 millimetres at Deception Bay.
There were good falls on the Darling Downs and Granite Belt and the south-west, with 52 millimetres recorded in some parts. In the Gold Coast hinterland, 114 millimetres fell at Upper Springbrook, but there was little or no rain closer to the coast. On the Sunshine Coast, 94 millimetres was recorded at Beerwah. In central Queensland, more than 40 millimetres fell at Capella, Kabra and Blackwater, near Rockhampton.
Airport shut down
Energex spokesman Graham Metcalf says there were more than 10,000 lightning strikes. "That lightning show was quite spectacular," he said. There were major delays at Brisbane Airport after baggage handlers stopped work because of the storms. A baggage handler who called ABC Radio last night said a shut down on the tarmac was imposed for the safety of staff whenever there are lightning strikes within five kilometres of the airport. "Last night there was a shutdown period from approximately [from 6:30pm AEST] to 9 o'clock so there was no movement on the apron, so no baggage could be unloaded from the aircraft at all during that period of time," he said.
Passenger Aaron Sanderson estimates his journey from Melbourne to Brisbane took up to eight hours. "Once we arrived we were on the airport tarmac for around three hours sitting on the plane," he said. "Very cramped up, claustrophobic, no air-con, everyone was getting angry and it was a testing time. "Once we arrived there was another hour to two hour delay picking up baggage."
Brisbane Airports Corporation spokesman Jim Carden has apologised for the delays but he says providing all-weather cover for tarmac workers in Brisbane is not an option. "It would be financially unviable I think to expect the airlines to build these enormous structures - and keep in mind the size of the average aircraft and how many you'd have to build - how much it would cost to build them to use them on those rare occasions when everything comes together so badly as it did last night," he said.
Â©ABC News | Gewijzigd: 3 februari 2017, 08:51 uur, door Joyce.s