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Gold Coast flash flooding cuts off highways and leaves people stranded – but bushfires are doused

Major highways have been cut and residents flooded as up to 300mm of torrential rain bucketed down on southeast Queensland overnight.

Two people were stranded after trying to drive through ‘life-threatening’ floodwater on the Gold Coast, with police receiving more than 50 reports of flooded roads across the city on Saturday morning.

The deluge hit the Gold Coast the hardest with 325mm of rain falling at Loders Creek and more than 200mm in the Gold Coast Hinterland with floodwater closing the M1 at Helensvale. 

Theme parks MovieWorld and Wet'n'Wild Gold Coast were shut Saturday due to the flooding

Theme parks MovieWorld and Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast were shut Saturday due to the flooding

1500 NSW volunteer firefighters out battling blazes on Saturday rejoiced in the rain which has helped them put out 49 fires since last Saturday. While far south coast firegrounds may have missed out, this is forecast to change with a new rain system coming through on Monday

1500 NSW volunteer firefighters out battling blazes on Saturday rejoiced in the rain which has helped them put out 49 fires since last Saturday. While far south coast firegrounds may have missed out, this is forecast to change with a new rain system coming through on Monday

Torrential rain pelted Southeast Queensland as this rain radar image shows

Torrential rain pelted Southeast Queensland as this rain radar image shows

Major highways have been cut at the Gold Coast suburb of Helensvale

Major highways have been cut at the Gold Coast suburb of Helensvale

The Bureau of Meteorology warned of 'life threatening' flash flooding at 6.15am

The Bureau of Meteorology warned of ‘life threatening’ flash flooding at 6.15am

MovieWorld and Wet’n’Wild Gold Coast theme parks are closed due to the flooding.  

The Cunningham Highway and the M1 have both been closed at Helensvale.

The Gold Coast suburb of Coomera, southeast of Brisbane, was inundated with 90mm of rain in just one hour, the Bureau of Meteorology reported.

‘Very dangerous storms are producing intense rainfall around Coomera,’ the Bureau warned on Twitter at 6.15am

‘Dangerous and life threatening flash flooding is likely.’   

Parts of the Gold Coast received triple the monthly rainfall overnight with the slow-moving cell impacting northern NSW before starting to move offshore.  

Chaos hit Queensland roads as the rain bomb dumped precipitation on the Gold Coast

Chaos hit Queensland roads as the rain bomb dumped precipitation on the Gold Coast

Heavy rains tested Sydney's stormwater drains on Friday morning. Pictured is a car driving through a giant puddle in the inner-city suburb of Surry Hills

Heavy rains tested Sydney’s stormwater drains on Friday morning. Pictured is a car driving through a giant puddle in the inner-city suburb of Surry Hills

The rain bomb comes as gentler falls over the past few days have helped exhausted volunteer firefighters extinguish more than 40 bushfires down the east coast of New South Wales.

More than 1500 firefighters were working to contain 75 bushfires in NSW on Saturday morning of which 25 were uncontrolled.

The onset of rain over the state has helped the firefighters put out 49 fires since last Saturday when there were 124 major fires burning in the drought-ravaged state of which 47 were out of control.  

Bureau of Meteorology NSW duty forecaster Rob Taggart said the rains so far had been heavier in the state’s northeast.

‘For the last 24 hours, the firegrounds blessed with the most rainfalls .. are on the north coast and mid-north coast,’ he said. 

The rain had brought relief to the monster Gospers Mountain blaze that has destroyed an area six times the size of Singapore and has been burning northwest of Sydney since October 26 last year.

‘Some areas in there have had up to 50mm,’ Mr Taggart said. 

 Mr Taggart said good falls of up to 53mm had fallen on the border of the Currowan fire on the NSW south coast, north of Batemans Bay.

The rains had been light and patchy on the far south coast, bringing little relief so far.

‘Some parts of the fireground may have missed out,’ he said. 

‘The firegrounds in the south coast area and in the Snowys area haven’t picked up as much rainfall.’

This is likely to change on Monday, Mr Taggart said, when another weather system comes through that is more promising for the southern firegrounds including the southwest slopes and Snowy Mountains area. 

The widespread showers and thunderstorms that have brought relief to the state over the past week are forecast to continue until Tuesday. 

Central NSW and the state’s northeast are expected to cop a soaking on Saturday with the potential for heavy rainfall on the north coast and parts of the Central Coast, Bureau of Meteorology meteorologist Zach Porter told AAP. 

Sydneysiders opened their umbrellas for the first time since September as welcome rains brought relief from months of dry weather

Sydneysiders opened their umbrellas for the first time since September as welcome rains brought relief from months of dry weather

Like champagne from heaven for farmers: the rains brought drought relief over large areas of New South Wales with more forecast to fall until Monday

Like champagne from heaven for farmers: the rains brought drought relief over large areas of New South Wales with more forecast to fall until Monday

Heavy rain caused flash flooding in parts of the state on Friday with the Australian Reptile Park on the Central Coast forced to close for the day as a result of the huge deluge.

Killabakh on the mid-north coast received the most rain with 98mm falling on Friday while Audley in southern Sydney copped 59mm.

The rain didn’t reach the bushfire-ravaged South Coast and Snowy Mountains where the highest rainfall amount recorded was 11mm in Bodalla on Friday, Mr Porter said.

NSW SES assistant commissioner Paul Bailey said there had been 323 call-outs overnight on Thursday including some for surface flooding in Parkes and Dubbo in the state’s central west.

Mr Bailey said fire-affected areas may see an increase in tree falls due to weakened soil, debris flowing into creeks and flash flooding due to a lack of vegetation.

The rain is expected to ease on Sunday with thunderstorms and showers forecast on Monday before windy and dry weather is due on Tuesday.

There’s a potential for elevated fire danger later in the week with warm weather forecast, the BOM said.

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