Sydney set for soaking as severe thunderstorms and hail forecast for commute home

Updated March 14, 2019 18:31:12

Parts of Sydney have been battered by heavy rain and hail, as severe thunderstorms continue to sweep across the city.

Key points:

  • A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of Sydney, Wollondilly, Wingecarribee and Greater Wollongong areas
  • Up to 60 millimetres could fall today, with the potential for flash flooding
  • Sydney is also forecast to receive between 15mm and 45mm on Friday

The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) warned the rapidly evolving weather could cause flash flooding, as Sydneysiders battle to get home from work.

BOM earlier issued a severe thunderstorm warning for parts of Sydney, Wollondilly, Wingecarribee and Greater Wollongong areas, with heavy rainfall and “possibly giant” hailstones expected.

The warning area spanned the Sydney metropolitan area, the Illawarra and parts of the South Coast, Central Tablelands and Southern Tablelands districts.

Harrington Park in Sydney’s south-west was pelted by hail, while elsewhere, cars were seen entering floodwaters.

Hail was also recorded in Sydney’s north-west, with backyards blanketed by hail in a sea of white.

Murray’s Flat near Goulburn and the Goulburn Water Treatment Works received 82 millimetres and 43mm in two hours respectively.

Doughboy Hill recorded 45mm in two hours, while 41mm fell at Big Hill (Glen Dusk near Goulburn) in one hour.

Bankstown in Sydney’s south-west recorded 17mm falling between 9:00am and 3:00pm.

The NSW State Emergency Service said it had received 60 call-outs this afternoon across Sydney and Goulburn.

Most were to help those affected by flash flooding, as well as trees that had fallen across roads.

Loftus and Menai are among the suburbs most affected.

More rain forecast

Up to 60mm — almost half the city’s average rainfall for the month of March — was expected throughout the eastern Sydney basin today alone.

BOM’s Rosemary Barr said it was a rapidly evolving system with the potential for flash flooding.

“We could definitely see for isolated regions … flash flooding, and that’s something we’re concerned about, particularly with heavier thunderstorms coming across,” she said.

“These showers will deliver varying amounts [of rainfall] but we could see pretty heavy falls and particularly at isolated locations.

“Currently our rainfall range on our forecast is sitting between around 20mm and 60mm, but those totals can vary very dramatically.

“It is more likely to be closer to the coast … there’s also the chance that we might see some hail or wind gusts.”

Ms Barr said the series of individual storm cells were part of a larger system stretching from Goulburn through the Sydney basin and the Blue Mountains to the Northern Tablelands.

“So you can think of [the storms] as a pot boiling — you have got individual bubbles, they are our thunderstorms, but the pot itself is out weather system.”

She said isolated rainfall was expected for the next few days, particularly along the state’s coastal fringe.

Sydney is forecast to receive between 15mm and 45mm on Friday, with a chance of a thunderstorm in the morning and afternoon.

On Saturday and Sunday there is a chance of showers, with up to 6mm of rain.

Although Sydney city only received 8mm yesterday, outer parts of the city — particularly the northern beaches region — received up to 50mm.

Observatory Hill, near The Rocks, recorded 111mm over the whole day, while Chatswood followed with 107mm.

The March average rainfall at Observatory Hill is 130.8mm, while the highest-ever total rainfall recorded was 521.4mm in 1942.

The lowest was 8.4mm in 1964.

Topics: rainfall, weather, storm-event, sydney-2000, nsw

First posted March 14, 2019 16:22:59

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