Australia Weather News

It descended over Mackay like an alien craft — a massive shelf cloud that covered large parts of the city.

A hot and humid day created the perfect conditions for the storm cell and the spectacular cloud formation, the likes of which many had never seen before.

The large cell stretched from Mackay's northern beaches south to Sarina.

Helen Reid from the Bureau of Meteorology said the shelf clouds were complicated and "incredible".

"The leading edge of it, the lower level cloud has those bands that look like cotton wool — they surround the main downdraft of all that rain," she said.

"You can tell if it's a supercell and see the rotation in the storm as it moves around.

"They don't always have giant hail or tornadoes, but just that movement indicates that the dynamics of a thunderstorm are really quite incredible.

"It's fabulous to see the different levels within the storm and the movement and the different components."

While most in the region were able to take in the awesome sight, rainfall was very localised.

A fall of 37 millimetres was recorded at Bakers Creek, but one ABC listener a kilometre down the road got only 15mm.

The highest total was recorded at Mackay Airport, which received 64mm.

Stormy days ahead

Ms Reid said Monday's storms were just the beginning of what could be a wet week for the area.

"Mackay seems to be a magnet for anything around the region … and we do have storms on the cards for the rest of the week," she said.

"I don't think you'll even get a breather until the next week.

"It's just a really dynamic season — we've seen so many go through the region already."

Ms Reid said the storms in the next couple of days aren't expected to have the same intensity as the one on Monday, but things could ramp up again later in the week.

"A lot of the driving forces have shifted offshore, so possibly nice storms we can have a look at, that don't have that fascinating rotation with them."

"There'll be thunderstorms every day, but some with a bit more development and structure in them is possible again on Thursday and Friday.

ABC