Australia sand storm
© Elizabeth Stevenson
A dust storm covered a large area of southern Australia
Two small earthquakes struck Melbourne's south-east in quick succession last night, adding to a series of wild weather incidents around the country.

A quake measuring 2.6 on the Richter scale occurred about 20 kilometres south of Frankston around 6:20pm AEST.

A magnitude 3.0 tremor struck further south 14 seconds later.

Residents have reported hearing a loud noise and feeling the ground shake, but the State Emergency Service says it has not received any reports of damage.

Geoscience Australia seismologist David Jepsen says it was not an unusual event.

"It does happen, it doesn't happen necessarily often, but what happens if you have one part of the earth has ruptured one way, sometimes you get it rebounding, the earth moving back into equilibrium, going back the other way," he said.

"That does happen. It's not unusual for that to happen."

Severe storms

In New South Wales, wild weather is making its way across the state, with the village of Crookwell near Goulburn suffering extensive hail damage.

The State Emergency Service says it has received 50 requests for help from the small community to deal with smashed windows and roof tiles and damage to cars.

The storms are passing through Sydney, although strong winds of up to 100 kilometres an hour forecast for early today are predicted to cause more damage.

The SES is asking people to park their cars undercover if possible, but not underneath trees, and to bring any outdoor furniture or equipment inside.

It says so far there have been 140 requests for assistance state-wide.

Major fires

Authorities are bracing for one of the most dangerous fire threats in several years today as dry and gusty conditions sweep across Queensland.

Fire crews have already been busy with about 10 major fires between Brisbane and Townsville.

Firefighters are being sent to bushfire hot spots in preparation for worsening conditions.

From midnight more than 60 per cent of the state will be subject to fire bans.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Services's Paul Adcock says several fires are still burning.

"We haven't had any fires directly threatening homes but certainly we have had homes in the pathway of fire, but we haven't seen the need to actually categorise them as being threatened as such," he said.

Mr Adcock has urged the public to immediately report anyone starting fires deliberately.

"Based on past experience you would have to say that some of them were [deliberately lit], particularly the fires that occur in the national park areas and the forest areas," he said.

"You would really have to doubt that they could start any way than by being deliberately lit or carelessly lit perhaps as well."

Authorities say it is likely many of the bushfires burning across Queensland were deliberately lit.

Dust storm

A dust storm over a large area of southern Australia yesterday shifted tonnes of earth from some of the worst drought-affected areas.

The weather bureau says the storms affected South Australia, Victoria, New South Wales, the ACT and Queensland.

The wild weather has caused havoc in some areas, but rain tonight is expected to ease the conditions.