It’s meant to be a joyous moment for many who ring in the new year with celebrations and good times, but thousands will be still without power or bracing for a deluge of rain as the clock strikes midnight.
The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast it’ll be a soggy start to 2024 for residents in the greater Brisbane, Canberra, Sydney and Darwin areas, with South East Queensland almost certain to be hit with a rain event.
As many prepare to countdown to 2024, the mammoth clean-up continues in South East Queensland after parts of the state was battered by tornado-like winds on Christmas night.
Emergency crews are continuing to restore power to critical infrastructure after winds felled more than 900 power lines on Christmas Day – including 600 on the Gold Coast.
The Bureau of Meteorology has since confirmed a tornado formed as part of the devastating Christmas Day storms, causing “very widespread destruction” throughout Gold Coast and the Scenic Rim region.
Gold Coast Mayor Tom Tate said residents had been battered by wind speeds exceeding 150km/h and comparable to those of a category 2 cyclone.
The tornado left a trail of destruction in its path, with many homes, vehicles and properties destroyed by falling trees and huge winds.
Thousands of people are still expected to remain without power on New Year’s Eve.
Those impacted by power outages are able to learn when they’ll be able to get power back by checking the Energex website for its recovery plan and prepare accordingly.
“This is an unprecedented task ahead for our Energex staff but they’re up to the challenge,” Queensland’s Energy Minister Mick de Brenni said.
“By the evening of December 30, we aim to have 80 per cent of power resupplied.
“By the end of December 31, we aim to have 90 per cent with power.”
However, Energex expects up to 10000 customers in the Mt Tamborine and Jimboomba areas will be unable to be reconnected to electricity for possibly weeks after the storm caused significant damage to key power system infrastructure.
Energex crews are continuing to work on repairing the damaged infrastructure, with staff moving into accommodation in the affected areas as the rebuild occurs.
They are still assessing the damage, but major power systems were completely destroyed in the storm.
Those affected by the Christmas and Boxing Day storms can apply for personal hardship grants of $180 for individual residents and $900 for families.
New Year’s Eve around the country
More storms and rain is forecast for Brisbane, with up to 35mm expected to fall in the Queensland capital on Saturday.
Sunday is also expected to be rainy, with a top of 30C forecast.
A severe storm warning has also been issued for the southeast on Saturday, with heavy rain and hail a concern for those still cleaning up from the Christmas Day storms.
Meanwhile, there’s a high chance of a shower in Sydney on Saturday, with a thunderstorm also forecast for the state capital.
However, on New Year’s Eve the weather conditions improve with only a slight chance of an early shower in Sydney on December 31.
The bureau has forecast Darwin City and the outer Darwin area will be mostly sunny on Saturday, with a medium chance of showers on Sunday, most likely in the afternoon and evening with a chance of a thunderstorm developing.
Melbourne is forecast to have a medium chance of showers on Saturday with a top of 18C, while the Victorian capital will reach a top of 21 degrees on a partly cloudy Sunday.
Perth is clear and fine over the weekend, with a scorching 35C forecast for Saturday and a top of 30C on Sunday.
A top of 22 degrees is forecast for Adelaide on Saturday, but revellers will ring in the new year on Sunday with sunshine and a top of 26C.
Canberra will reach a top of 26C on Saturday, while 22C and cloudy conditions are forecast for Sunday.