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Sydney weather warning: heavy rain forecast prompts flash flooding alert

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Follow our live coverage of this afternoon's wet weather, including transport updates and latest forecasts. Send in any tips, video or images to scoop@smh.com.au or through our Facebook page. You can also Tweet us @smh.

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Sydney flooding hampers drivers

Video of flash flooding in Sydney sent by SMH readers TJ Eviston and Foz J Ayash. Photo from Tony Alam. Please send videos and pictures to scoopsmh@gmail.com

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Bankstown has topped the list of Sydney suburbs affected by rain today.

Since 9am, 63.8mm of rain has fallen on the western Sydney suburb. Canterbury is not far behind with 60mm and Sydney Airport received about 39.6mm.

In Lucas Heights, where a man earlier drowned, 59.6mm of rain has fallen since 9am.

Bexley Road is closed again in both directions at Bexley North due to flooding of Wolli Creek.

Flooding is also affecting the following roads:

  • Princes Highway at Acacia Road in Sutherland
  • Bangor Bypass one kilometre west of Akuna Avenue in Bangor
  • Alfords Point Road at Old Illawarra Road in Menai
  • The River Road at Canterbury Road in Revesby
  • Pacific Highway at Bobbin Head Road in Pymble
  • Cumberland Highway at Old Windsor Road in Constitution Hill

 

Commuters, it's time to start the engines or jump on the bike because the rain over Sydney has eased - for now at least.

Sarah Chadwick, a forecaster with the Bureau of Meteorology, said the rain has eased off but showers and possibly heavy rain may return this evening.

"You'll have a couple of hours, looking at the system," Ms Chadwick said.

Still, it's possible that thunderstorm activity could return later with the evening burst so moist is the air mass over the region, she said.

The heaviest falls were mostly in the 2-3pm period. Areas such as Lucas Heights have clocked up 55.7 millimeters since 9am, with 61.6 mm at Bankstown - most of the rain falling in a short period.

Most of the storms are currently heading south to the Illawarra.

Sydney may see more heavy rain tomorrow morning before it eases off, Ms Chadwick said, adding people should "keep an eye on the warnings".

SMH reader picture sent in from Newbridge Rd at Moorebank.

SMH reader picture sent in from Newbridge Rd at Moorebank. Photo: Danny Akkari

The Bureau of Meteorology warns that, at 4.05pm, severe thunderstorms were detected on the radar near waters off Wollongong and waters off Thirroul. They were forecast to affect Wollongong, Bulli and Pt Kembla by 4.35 pm and Kiama, Campbelltown and Helensburgh by 5.05 pm.

Heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding is likely.

There was 55mm of rain recorded in just 30 minutes at Cronulla South Bowling Club at 2.40pm, and 64mm in one hour at Audley (Royal National Park) at 2.53pm.

The next warning is due to be issued by 5.10pm.

A more general severe thunderstorm warning is also current for parts of the Metropolitan, Illawarra, North West Slopes and Plains and Northern Tablelands districts.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued this thunderstorm warning for between 4.30pm and 5pm today.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued this thunderstorm warning for between 4.30pm and 5pm today.

The SES has recieved 220 calls for help today, most of those from Sydney and particularly the south and southwest.

"We've been fortunate with not much wind this weather system, so the number of calls have been quite low," a NSW SES spokesman said.

The calls for help included six flood rescues where people have become trapped in their cars, and damage to homes.

The Bureau predicts more storms overnight and into tomorrow.

"Hopefully the worst will be over by lunchtime tomorrow," the SES spokesman said.

The SES has dozens of teams out responding to calls this afternoon and some will continue to work through the night.

Drivers have been warned to avoid Alfords Point Road, which is closed going northbound at Old Illawarra Road in Menai.

One southbound lane has reopend but traffic is very heavy, a spokeswoman from the Transport Management Centre said.

Audley Weir in the Royal National Park is also closed in both directions due to flooding.

These roads are still affected by flooding:

  • The Princes Highway at Acacia Road in Sutherland
  • The Pacific Highway at Bobbin Head Road in Pymble
  • The River Road at Canterbury Road in Revesby
  • Cumberland Highway at Constitution Hill

A man has died after becoming trapped in a flooded drain at the Lucas Heights Waste Management Centre.

Paramedics were called to the centre on New Illawarra Road about 3.15pm.

On arrival they found the man already dead, an ambulance spokesman said.

Police are investigating his death.

Two men have been struck by lightning in Sydney this afternoon.

A man believed to be about 19 was standing in a puddle on Dransfield Aveneue in Mascot when lightning struck a metre or so away, an ambulance spokesman said. Paramedics took him to St Vincent's Hospital in a stable condition.

Another man, in his 50s, was at a work site when lightning is reported to have struck the tool he was using, believed to be a jackhammer. The lightning knocked down and injured the man. Paramedics have taken him to Sutherland Hospital in a stable condition.

So far there are reports of flash flooding in these suburbs:

  • Rosebery
  • North Bondi
  • Bankstown
  • Mascot
  • Zetland
  • Botany
  • Alexandria
  • Chipping Norton
  • Constitution Hill
  • Revesby
  • Heathcote
  • Sutherland
  • Menai
  • Pymble

 

Roads are starting to reopen after earlier closures due to flooding, the Transport Management Centre says.

Bexley Road has reopened to traffic in both directions and the Bondi-Randwick exit from the Eastern Distributor at Moore Park has also reopened.

Flooding is still affecting these roads:

  • O'Riordan Street at Wyndham Street in Alexandria
  • Newbridge Road at Governor Macquarie Drive in Chipping Norton
  • Cumberland Highway at Old Windsor Road in Constitution Hill
  • The River Road at Canterbury Road in Revesby
  • Heathcote Road at Forum Drive in Heathcote

From Environment Editor Peter Hannam:

The arrival of the rain snapped the record run of days of 25 degrees or warmer weather, with today's maximum topping out at 23.2 degrees just after 1pm.

As Brett Dutschke from Weatherzone tells us, the 21-day run was the longest ever in autumn in records going back to 1859 for Sydney.

It was also the 6th longest for any time of the year.

Buried with the numbers, though, is this neat statistic. Before today, Sydney had clocked up 19 consecutive days of at least 26 degrees - and that's the longest at that threshold for any month. The previous record was 18 such days, set in February 2004.

Here are some of the best photos we have seen so far of the flash flooding that has hit various Sydney suburbs on Monday.

Remember to send us your photos at scoop@smh.com.au.

The corner of Niblick Street and Warners Ave at North Bondi. Click for more photos

Sydney wild weather: heavy rain causes flash flooding

The corner of Niblick Street and Warners Ave at North Bondi. Photo: Allan Giddy

  • The corner of Niblick Street and Warners Ave at North Bondi.
  • Road or river? Waves along the Princes Highway at Carlton, in Sydney's south, on Monday.
  • Flash flooding in North Wollongong posed a problem for this motorist.
  • Reader Jen Reekie sent us this photo of outside her house on Edgeware Road, Enmore.
  • Splish splash: a car driving on Taren Point Road, Taren Point during the storm.
  • Lord Street in Botany.
  • Flooding shown in Taren Point.
  • The view from a high-rise building in North Sydney.
  • Motorists drive along the waterlogged Princes Highway at Carlton, as a severe storm hit Sydney just after 1.30pm, Monday.
  • Pedestrians run for cover on Crown Street, Wollongong as another deluge hits the Illawarra region.

Cam O'Neill has uploaded to YouTube this video of a car almost floating down Morely Avenue at Roseberry.

Please send in any tips or images from this afternoon's storm to scoop@smh.com.au or through our Facebook page. You can also Tweet us @smh.

Tales of flash flooding are emerging, with some extraordinary rainfalls in short periods in Sydney today. Weatherzone has just confirmed some of the biggest deluges.

"It began early this afternoon in the Hunter with Norah Head gaining a staggering 18mm in 10 minutes. Soon after the first major Sydney storm of the afternoon developed in the southwest with Camden gaining 14mm in 10 minutes.

"But soon after this heavy rain and storms swept over most of Sydney's western, southern and eastern suburbs. Bankstown and Canterbury have been seeing some of the heaviest falls thus far, with with 18mm and 20mm in only 10 minutes respectively. By 2pm Bankstown, Blacktown and Prospect had already received over 50mm.

"For Bankstown, this is their heaviest daily total in just over a year, recorded in just under an hour. These suburbs and surrounds have experienced significant flash flooding."

To put those figures into perspective, it's worth noting that rainfall rates in excess of five millimetres in 10 minutes can be enough for flash flooding.

 

Flash flood: motorists drive through water on the Princes Highway at Carlton.

Flash flood: motorists drive through water on the Princes Highway at Carlton. Photo: Jane Dyson

Sydney Airport is having issues with incoming and outgoing flights due to the weather.

"We do have delays and there have been some flight diversions," a spokeswoman for the airport said.

Earlier a "five nautical mile" alert was issued which meant ground staff weren't permitted on to the tarmac for safety reasons.

However, a 747 has recently landed and the airport spokeswoman recommended contacting your airline directly for specific information on flights.

The most recent rainfall figures from the Bureau of Meteorology give an insight into which suburbs have experienced the worst of today's rain.

Bankstown has recorded the highest rainfall at present, with 57.4 millimetres falling since 9am.

Other figures include:

  • Sydney Airport 34.2 millimetres
  • Camden 41.2 millimetres
  • Norah Head 29 millimetres
  • Lucas Heights 27.4 millimetres
  • Olympic Park 15.2 millimetres

Meanwhile, the Observatory Hill weather station has recorded just 3.6 millimetres in that time. Does that sound right to people? Might be a mistake?

 

The SES has performed two flood rescues this afternoon after people became trapped in their car attempting to drive through floodwaters. One at Bexley Road in Canturbury and the other at Milperra Road in Bankstown.

"We don't want people to deliberately drive through water," SES NSW spokeswoman Becky Gillings said.

"We want you to get home to alive, so if you can, find an alternate route that's going to keep you safe."

There are reports of heavy flash floods in Mascot, Zetland and Bankstown.

The SES is attending 60 calls for help across Sydney - mostly for flash flooding, leaking roofs and fallen trees.

"Flash flooding is the main concern, the Bureau is predicting anywhere between 100 and 120mm in some areas," Ms Gillings said.

For emergency help from the SES in floods and storms call 132 500.

Here's how the weather radar was looking as of 2.06pm on Monday.

As you can see, there's no shortage of cloud, with the worst of it passing over the city's southern suburbs.

A Weatherzone radar image of greater Sydney at 2.06pm on Monday.

A Weatherzone radar image of greater Sydney at 2.06pm on Monday.

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Grab the brollie!

This could be Sydney's wettest week since last Autumn says Weatherzone's meteorologist Brett Dutschke.

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The Bureau of Meteorology has issued a severe weather warning for Sydney due to the risk of flash flooding from heavy rains forecast for Monday afternoon and evening.

The alert, issued on Monday morning, applies to parts of the Metropolitan, Central Coast (southern Hunter) and Illawarra forecast districts.

In Sydney, the rain is expected to particularly fall over the east and south, as the city prepares for its wettest week in at least four months. Some western suburbs are facing their wettest week since at least last winter or even autumn, forecasters advise.

The rain band should arrive from late morning and extend into the evening and beyond, said Brett Dutschke, senior meteorologist at Weatherzone.

“Flash flooding is a fair chance over the next 24 hours,” Dr Dutschke said. “Coastal areas are at the greatest risk although flooding could occur almost anywhere.”

Dr Dutschke said widespread falls would bring 30-60 millimetres of rain, with the potential for more than 100 millimetres for some regions.

That compares with almost 65 millimetres so far this month for downtown Sydney, about half the average for March, typically the second wettest month of the year.

Moisture being drawn off the Pacific Ocean mixing with a pool of cold air in the upper atmosphere is creating ideal conditions for heavy rain.

Significant falls have already been recorded over part of the Blue Mountains on Monday morning.

The gloomy weather will persist for much of this week, with more rain and showers likely until sunny and dry conditions return by the weekend.

Along with today’s drenching, Sydney is likely to snap its record run of mild autumn temperatures. For the past 21 days, daily maximums have exceeded 25 degrees, beating the previous record run of 16 such days set in 1977, Dr Dutschke said.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should not drive, ride or walk through flood water, and keep clear of creeks and storm drains.

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