‘Human shield’ Queensland mum honoured
DAYS after Fiona Simpson made a split-second decision to shield her baby from giant hailstones after wild weather blew out their car windows, the young Queensland mum is being eyed for a bravery award.
Ms Simpson, 23, saved the life of her baby girl but was left with horrific bruising and cuts after hail blew out her car's back window and windshield near Kingaroy.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said it was an "extraordinary" story and promised to recommend Ms Simpson for a bravery award.
"We will be recommending her for a bravery award," the Queensland premier said today.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison also praised Ms Simpson's courage.
"I certainly think she is one of the bravest people I have read of lately," Mr Morrison said.
Ms Simpson had been travelling on the D'Aguilar Highway between Kingaroy and Gympie on Thursday afternoon with her grandmother and baby daughter Clara when tennis-ball-sized hailstones smashed into their car.
"I didn't realise the danger of what hail could do," Ms Simpson told Nine News.
"I jumped in the back seat and just covered (Clara) with my body, hoping for it to pass, but it just got heavier and heavier."
She and her grandmother had to spend a night in hospital and she posted confronting images of her injuries on social media, revealing her back, shoulders and arms were entirely covered in angry welts and bruises.
The bravery award nomination comes as meteorologists warn the east and west coasts that Australia's wild weather isn't over yet.
Heavy rain is the weather most of Australia will be seeing outside their window for the next couple of days as the east coast tries to clean up the damage from a week of wild thunderstorms.
A number of people were hospitalised in Queensland this week, including Ms Simpson, her mother and her child, after much of the state was hit with severe thunderstorms and a weather event dubbed a "hailnado".
On the west coast, Perth was also hit with severe thunderstorms last night with a low pressure system bringing heavy rain to the south of the state for the next few days.
As that low pressure system moves eastwards, it'll bring windy conditions and an elevated fire danger in the southwest of Australia.
Coupled with the potential for storms, firefighters in the west are on high alert.
The cold front in Western Australia brought good rainfall for the state with Bunbury seeing its heaviest rain in two months.
As the rain clears in Western Australia, the storms will move across to South Australia, bringing isolated heavy showers but also warmer weather.
Tasmania will see some of its warmest days in months with Hobart expected to hit the mid-20s this week, its hottest day in seven months.
Drought-affected farmers can also breathe a small sigh of relief, with Sky Weather forecasting a large belt of rain spreading through central Victoria, parts of South Australia and central and western NSW and Queensland.
"This is an area that could see a lot of storms particularly central and northern NSW and western Queensland," Sky Weather metrologist Tristan Meyers said.
The heavy coastal showers forecast for much of Australia's east coast has also brought a distinct threat of flash and river flooding.
A spiralling low pressure system hovering over Queensland will bring heavy showers to the southeast of the state with border town Tweed Heads and the Gold Coast and Brisbane expecting more than 50mm of rain over the next few days.
But as the week goes on, those regions will being to dry out as the low pressure system weakens.
By Wednesday, the conditions will ease and the heavy thunderstorms and rain the region has seen for much of October are expected to stop.
Overnight, severe thunderstorms in Queensland produced some good rainfall rates for towns including Caloundra and Yeppoon.
The central Queensland towns had their wettest days in six months with Yeppoon recording more than 20mm of rain in the gauge.
Heavy showers will hit NSW and Queensland today with the wild weather also whipping up dangerous surf conditions all the way down the east coast.
NSW and Queensland residents are also being warned that if severe thunderstorms do come, they could be hit with the large hail and damaging winds parts of the states saw earlier this week.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning, with damaging winds and heavy rainfall predicted to hit parts of the Central Coast, Whitsundays, Central Highlands, Coalfields and Capricornia.
Large hail stones could also hit the region as the storm moves up and off the coast, BOM senior forecaster Gabriel Branescu said.
A warning for storms in the Peninsula and North Tropical Coast and Tablelands has been cancelled.
Strong wind warnings have also been issued for the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay.
Forecasters have been keeping an eye on a complex low pressure system off the south east, which is backtracking towards the coast.
The damage bill from Thursday's storms is still being assessed over the weekend but it is expected to be hefty, with crops wiped out, animals killed and roofs torn from homes.
An 11-year-old boy remains in a critical condition in a Brisbane hospital after being pinned under a large tree during clean-up work at a private property at Coolabunia.
A young mother is also recovering from significant bruising after being forced to use her body to shield her baby when they were caught in the fury of the sudden hailstorm in a car in the same area.
Rainfall will persist throughout north eastern NSW, with a forecast of strong winds and surf sparking warnings for anyone heading to the coastline.
The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a surf warning for the coastline from Sydney up to Byron, saying conditions will be hazardous for activities such as rock fishing, boating and swimming.
Showers will continue on Sunday and into the week across NSW's east, with heavy rainfall in the state's mid north coast prompting a flood warning.
The Northern Rivers at Orara, Bellinger and Kalang could flood as heavy rainfall is expected to hit the region, BOM forecaster Gabrielle Woodhouse said.
"People should remain alert, but not alarmed," the forecaster said.