STORMS across Queensland’s southeast late yesterday delivered a welcome reprieve from the searing heatwave that has gripped the state for three days.

But as temperatures dropped and heavy rainfall lashed the region, communities in NSW were dealing with the aftermath of ferocious fires that resulted in at least one small town being wiped out.

Queensland’s afternoon thunderstorms left more than 17,000 homes without power, with suburbs in Ipswich and the Somerset region hit hardest.

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Emergency services received 27 calls for assistance for leaking roofs, fallen trees and damaged powerlines.

The cool relief followed a weekend of record-breaking temperatures which saw paramedics respond to about 160 heat-related incidents across Queensland.

The extreme heat has caused cotton, fruit and vegetable growers on the Darling Downs to run out of allocated irrigation water, while cattle are starving due to a lack of green grass.

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AgForce president Grant Maudsley said farmers had been feeling the effects of the heatwave.

“It’s having a big effect on most of the farmers out west,” he said.

“They’ve been fairly knocked around a bit and what grass is left is being cooked. We’re just hoping for some rain.”

Queensland Urban Utilities yesterday said about 160 Olympic swimming pools’ worth of water had been consumed during the heatwave.

“The current heatwave is placing extra demand on our water network,” a spokesman said.

“During a typical summer day, Brisbane consumes around 330 megalitres of water. Over the weekend, consumption increased to more than 400 megalitres per day.”

Extreme conditions are expected to hit Townsville and Mackay today, with temperatures as high as 37C.

Brisbane is forecast to reach a top of 30C, with a high possibility of more rain this afternoon.