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2.24 million lightning strikes hit along east coast

Australia has been hit by more than 2.24 million lightning strikes in just 48 hours as wild weather battered the east coast over the weekend.

Storms and damaging winds up to 100km/h wreaked havoc in multiple states, with volunteers responding to hundreds of calls for help.

The weather bureau said most of the 2.24 million lightning strikes were recorded in Queensland, NSW and the Northern Territory, with more storms expected this week.

In Melbourne’s outer east a woman aged in her 50s was hospitalised with non-life threatening injuries after the car she was driving crashed into a tree that had fallen onto the Maroondah Highway at Kilsyth.

Victorian State Emergency Service volunteers have responded to more than 240 requests for assistance in the past 24 hours for trees fallen onto buildings, roads and powerlines.

Kilsyth, Montrose and The Basin in Melbourne’s outer east were the worst affected areas with more than 100 call outs, while a large Moreton Bay fig tree caused significant damage to a house in Glen Iris.

About 2000 houses, mostly in the eastern suburbs, are also still with power on Monday morning.

In Queensland, the SES, Rural Fire Service, and Queensland Fire and Emergency Services crews were called to 220 jobs for fallen trees, fallen powerlines and property damage.

Brisbane has recorded almost 34mm of rain since 9am on Sunday, while Oakey near Toowoomba received 42.6mm.

At least 34 homes in southeast Queensland were impacted by flooding, mostly from leaking roofs caused by heavy rainfall, with Ipswich, South Brisbane, Redlands and Logan the most affected areas.

A QFES spokeswoman said 132 jobs were for structural damage to houses and 99 for fallen trees, with crews still responding to 33 requests for assistance as of 6am on Monday.

In NSW, Sydney was hit by wind gusts of up to 80km/h and more than 40mm of rain in the past 24 hours, with Cabramurra in the Snowy Mountains recording the strongest winds in the state with gusts of 100km/h.

The wild weather has triggered traffic chaos for Sydneysiders with several roads blocked off ahead of the Monday morning commute.

Wakehurst Parkway is closed in both directions from Oxford Falls to North Narrabeen due to flooding. Drivers have been urged to use Pittwater Road and Warringah Road as an alternative.

Oxford Falls Road is also closed between Wakehurst Parkway and Aroona Road.

Galston Road, in Sydney’s northwest, was closed in both directions due to a rockfall west of the bridge, but the incident was cleared before 7.30am.

The soggy conditions after expected to continue for the entire week despite some areas such as Sydney’s northern beaches already receiving 100mm of rain over the last three days.

A severe weather warning is in place for damaging winds in the Southern Tablelands, Snowy Mountains and the ACT.

Hazardous surf conditions are also expected along the NSW coast.

Winds in Melbourne’s outer east reached speeds between 60 to 70km/h, with fallen trees causing several road closures, including Dorset Road in Boronia.

Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said there were more thunderstorms on the way for Queensland and rain and showers for NSW.

He said the strong winds and rain would continue in NSW until Wednesday, while in Queensland the thunderstorms would gradually move away from the coast on Monday morning.

“We could still see the odd storm, but there won’t be nearly as many storms as there will be in central and tropical Queensland, and that’s going to be the focus on Monday,” he said.

“We’ll see those storms drifting back south again during the middle of the week. On Tuesday storms are a pretty decent chance again for southeastern Queensland. We could be seeing further severe thunderstorms as well and a similar story into Wednesday.”

In Melbourne, it will be cloudy with possible showers for most of the week.

jack.paynter@news.com.au

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