An engineer says the risk of flooding from a Queensland dam is starting to reduce, but there are still fears for 12 farms.

The rural properties were evacuated overnight after a landowner spotted a 3.5m hole in the dam on his property at Talgai, about 170 kilometres southwest of Brisbane, on Friday afternoon.

An engineer has told authorities the risk from the Bolzan quarry dam has decreased, Southern Downs regional councillor Cameron Gow said.

But those evacuated from 12 properties – mainly grain and cattle farms – are not yet allowed to return home.

“The volume of water coming out of the hole is gradually starting to reduce,” Gow said. The water level of the 433-megalitre dam had dropped by half a metre.

A cofferdam with a 50-megalitre capacity and a large paddock would contain some overflow should the dam burst.

On Friday night the council issued text messages to about 5,000 people warning of the risk of the dam failing. However, once the damage was assessed in daylight the area of concern was reduced.

“We were being as cautious as possible if there were to be a severe and sudden failure,” Gow said.

Meanwhile, two adults and an infant had to be rescued from a car stuck in floodwaters south of Brisbane early on Saturday morning.

Firefighters used boats to rescue the three from the car roof at Chambers Flat in Logan about 3am.

A woman was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure, but another adult and an infant were uninjured, say Ambulance Services.

Storms were considered possible for large parts of eastern Queensland on Saturday afternoon, but nothing like the deluge over the past few weeks, Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Kimba Wong said.

Isolated heavy rainfall was possible for coastal areas south of the Whitsunday islands. Days of heavy rain in the southeast corner had led to flooding that was just starting to subside.

To the south, more rain was expected to fall on Sydney and parts of the east coast – including the fire-ravaged south coast of New South Wales and East Gippsland in Victoria – from Saturday afternoon as ex-tropical cyclone Uesi moved through the Tasman Sea. Rain and thunderstorm activity were also expected through the southern tablelands and western Sydney in NSW.

Flood warnings also remained in place after the weekend’s wet weather deluge, particularly through the NSW mid-north coast. Flash flooding might also occur in the Tweed, Richmond, Wilson, Clarence, Bellinger, Macleay, upper Nepean, Wyong, Tuggerah, Orara, Gwydir, Castlereagh, Paroo, Nambucca and Weir rivers.

Victoria’s north-east was forecast to experience severe thunderstorms, with very heavy rainfall, large hail and damaging winds expected.

A Bureau of Meteorology thunderstorm warning remained in place for parts of East Gippsland, the Mallee, Northern Country and North East districts. Rain in the north-east could help temper bushfires still burning in the region.

“I think there will be some assistance – it is still hit and miss, so not a widespread rainfall event, but it will help generally,” Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Michael Efron said. “That heavy rainfall actually could be a concern, though, in terms of flash flooding and landslides.”

Surf Life Saving NSW warned rock fishers, boaters, surfers and swimmers to stay away from the water. A hazardous surf warning was in place for the Hunter, Sydney, Illawarra, Batemans Bay and Eden on Saturday.

“If people don’t heed emergency service warnings and put themselves in danger in these extreme conditions, it’s possible that lifesavers will not be able to save them,” lifesaving director Joel Wiseman said.

Some beaches might be closed on the weekend due to the large swell, poor water quality and large amounts of debris in the water caused by wind gust from ex-cyclone Uesi.

Storms lashed Melbourne’s outer east and south-east on Friday, leading to flash flooding, fallen trees and cutting power to thousands of people. Power providers worked into the night to restore it.

Ausgrid repair crews were to continue working across the weekend to restore power to about 9,700 NSW customers still affected by last weekend’s storm damage. More than 130,000 homes and business had been reconnected, with all works expected to be completed by Sunday.

Parts of Gippsland and the La Trobe Valley were also soaked by the storms on Friday afternoon. The greatest rainfall totals were at Thorpdale in Gippsland and Cardinia in Melbourne’s south-east, which had both received 63mm by 9pm.

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