Environment

Sydney weather: Severe thunderstorms sweep in from the west

Waves of thunderstorms have begun to hit Sydney, some of them potentially severe, as a complex low pressure system brings storm activity to much of eastern Australia.

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Potential severe thunderstorms for Sydney

Damaging winds, heavy rain and hail are expected to hit Sydney on Friday, according to Weatherzone meteorologist Tristan Meyers.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning for large hailstones and damaging winds for the Sydney region.

"Severe thunderstorms were detected on weather radar near Richmond, Penrith, Lake Burragorang and Wisemans Ferry [and were heading south-eastwards]," the bureau said. 

The bureau radar picked up hailstones within the storms of about two centimetres in diameter, or the size of a $2 coin, Zac Porter, a meteorologist with the bureau, said.

"The cells are still in the process of intensifying," Mr Porter said.

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"They are plenty of storms building back behind this one," Mr Porter said. "We could see waves of them coming off [the ranges]."

'Unstable' conditions

"There is a lot of moisture in the atmosphere. It's very unstable and there's a fair amount of heat," Rob Sharpe, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said. 

The greatest risk of severe storms, including damaging winds and hail, come with individual cells. If the storms "get in each other's way", the result may be only thundery rain, Mr Sharpe said.

Humidity levels were as high as 98 per cent in places such as Badgerys Creek in Sydney's west earlier on Friday morning. 

The city's forecast top is 29 degrees on Friday and Saturday, when there will also be a chance of thunderstorms. 

The heaviest rainfall totals on Friday are expected to be in Sydney's south, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

The low-pressure trough has the potential to bring thunderstorms on Friday along the whole of eastern Australia from Mackay in Queensland down to Tasmania.

"It's a very big system, with widespread instability and the potential for severity along the whole way," Mr Sharpe said.

The bureau has issued a separate severe thunderstorm warning for most of eastern NSW.

Locations in the firing line include Newcastle, Gosford, Sydney, Wollongong, Nowra, Batemans Bay, Armidale, Orange, Canberra, Goulburn, Tamworth and Dubbo, the bureau said.

The warning is for destructive winds, large hailstones and heavy rain, the latter potentially triggering flash flooding. 

Taking precautions

The State Emergency Service advises that, during storms, you should: 

  • Move your cars under cover or away from trees. 
  • Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony. 
  • Keep clear of fallen power lines. 
  • Unplug computers and appliances. 
  • Avoid using the phone during the storm. 
  • Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well. 
Weatherzone: Sydney radar


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

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