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Rain clearing after lunchtime downpour

Heavy rain and damaging winds hit Sydney this afternoon, as part of a weather system that brought unseasonal snow to the Blue Mountains.

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Snowy spring in the Blue Mountains

Winter has returned to the Blue Mountains with snow falling in October for the first time since 2008.

By 2.15pm, most of the rain was starting to clear and just a few light showers remained, Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said.

From about 4pm, nearly all the rain would have moved offshore, he said.

He said the wind had reached a peak of 106km/h on the coast at the Royal National Park.

The wind on the harbour, the strongest recorded, peaked at 83km/h.


The winds were consistently gusting 80km/h at Port Botany and parts of the coast from midday to about 2pm.

However, they had generally eased off and things were calming down.

For the rest of the afternoon, winds will gust about 50 to 60km/h in the city and on the coast, he said.

The surf is getting larger and waves of about three metres are hitting beaches. The damaging surf is set to peak this evening and is likely to exceed four metres on south-facing beaches, from Maroubra to Bondi.

Manly is likely to be more sheltered, although ferries will not be running between Manly and Circular Quay because of the rough weather.

The wind will ease off at Manly this evening although the timing is not that easy to pin down, Mr Dutschke said. He could not speculate on when the weather might ease enough for the ferries to be back in action.

There had been a risk of flash flooding, particularly in Sydney's southern and eastern suburbs during the early afternoon.

Some lanes had been covered by water around airport, Mr Dutschke said.

Weekend outlook

Tomorrow will be a mostly sunny day, generally dry, with much less wind and about 5 to 8 degrees warmer.

The surf will still be at a dangerous height of about three metres.

By Sunday, the surf will drop below dangerous levels

Heavy snow

Parts of NSW have experienced their heaviest snow in years - and it's come in mid-October - as the state shivers through a severe cold change.

Snow has been reported between the Blue Mountains and Canberra, with the nation's capital enduring its coldest October day in more than 40 years yesterday, staying below 9 degrees all day.

Glen Innes had its heaviest snow in five years, while Guyra had unusually heavy snow that would normally only occur once every 20 years, Mr Dutschke said.

Snow has been falling in Orange and has been heavy in Oberon, Crookwell and Bowral. As much as 20 centimetres has reportedly settled on the ground in the Crookwell area.

"We do get this late season snow but it doesn't happen very often," weather bureau meteorologist Julie Evans said.

"The last time was in 2008 when we saw snow in the Snowy Mountains and central tablelands in November."

The pool of cold, dry air responsible for these snowfalls is moving away to the east, causing snow to turn to rain on the southern tablelands and predicted to do the same in the Blue Mountains by lunchtime.

Meanwhile, more than 200mm of rain has fallen at Ulladulla, on the south coast, since yesterday morning, the heaviest rainfall in the town in 20 years.

The Transport Management Centre said snow, ice and heavy rain were affecting many roads in NSW and motorists are advised to plan ahead by checking the Live Traffic website.

The weather bureau reported other severe weather events in the state, including eight-metre waves at Batemans Bay overnight and gale force winds on the south coast.


The NSW State Emergency Service advises people to move their cars away from trees, secure loose items around the yard and to avoid driving, walking and riding through flood waters.

Ausgrid urges people to stay clear of fallen powerlines.

"Powerlines carry live electricity 24 hours a day," an Ausgrid statement said.

"It is extremely dangerous to touch or go near fallen wires, no matter what the circumstances."

Transport affected

The Great Western Highway, which had been closed most of the day between Lawson and Mount Victoria, has just reopened to traffic. But officials at the Traffic Management Centre warned that there were considerable delays and urged motorists to delay travel if at all possible.

The highway was closed this morning because of black ice and snow. The alternative route - the Bells Line of Road - was also closed for several hours, isolating the upper mountains. It has now opened.

To compound problems for those trying to reach Medlow Bath and Katoomba, the train line was cut between Katoomba and Lithgow because of a number of fallen trees on the tracks, brought down by the heavy snowfalls.

No replacement buses are operating.

Sydney Ferries are not running between Manly and Circular Quay because of rough seas and strong winds, the Transport Management Centre says.

Buses continue to replace these services as well as those between Parramatta and Rydalmere due to the adverse weather.

For the latest public transport information go to www.131500.com.au or call 131500.

- with Jennie Curtin

Sydney weather statistics can be seen here.

Weatherzone.com.au is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website. 

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