Wild storms spark hundreds of calls for help
Floodwaters in the Eastern Distributor tunnel in Sydney on Tuesday night. Photo: Twitter/Kellie Sloane
Severe storms and strong winds have lashed Sydney and the NSW central coast, causing flash flooding, felling trees and leaving hundreds of homes powerless.
The State Emergency Service received hundreds of calls for help on Tuesday night and several roads were closed due to flooding, fallen trees and hanging wires.
The Bureau of Meteorology said on Wednesday morning a severe thunderstorm warning remained for NSW central and southern tablelands, central slopes plains and south-west slopes.
“Giant hail, intense rainfall and damaging winds are all possible,” it said.
“Heavy falls leading to flash flooding is possible.”
An SES spokesman said 400 volunteers responded to 370 incidents and performed 12 flood rescues overnight, mostly in Sydney’s north and on the Central Coast.
“The main type of jobs that we saw were trees and branches down due to the strong winds, followed by roofs damaged and leaking, and the heavy rain also caused localised flooding in a number of areas as well as road closures,” spokesman Neil Wiblin said.
Early on Wednesday, several Manly ferry services were cancelled due to the large swell on Sydney Harbour. Services had resumed by later in the morning.
The SES was also called to help after an internal roof collapsed in a nursing home in Sydney’s inner-west.
The wild weather also brought a water spout off Dee Why, on Sydney’s northern beaches. Locals posted footage of the massive waterspout.
“Bro there’s a f—ing tornado off the coast from my house. What the f—?” wrote one wary resident.
The deluge hit Orange in the central tablelands and Queanbeyan near Canberra, late on Tuesday afternoon before advancing on Sydney and surrounds as night approached.
SES co-ordinator Duty Operations Neil Wiblin said Sydney’s north shore, northern beaches and eastern suburbs copped the worst of the weather.
“The main type of jobs that we saw were trees and branches down due to the strong winds followed by roofs damaged and leaking and the heavy rain also caused localised flooding in a number of areas as well as road closures,” he told ABC radio on Wednesday.
Some places got more than 100 millimetres of rain. In Sydney’s north, Terry Hills got 121 millimetres – almost a month’s rain.
Forecaster Weatherzone said its Total Lightning Network detected just over 22,000 lightning strikes within 100 kilometres of Sydney in the 12 hours to 3am Wednesday.
Ausgrid said on Wednesday power remained out in the southern suburbs of Caringbah, Miranda, Sylvania Waters and surrounds.
Also on Wednesday, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a warning for severe thunderstorms for the Hunter Valley.
“A southerly change is combining with an upper trough to promote embedded thunderstorm activity with possible localised heavy falls,” it said.
“Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours.”
Locations likely to be affected include Newcastle, Cessnock, Maitland, Raymond Terrace, Wallsend and Toronto. Awaba, at Stony Creek, near Lake Macquarie, had 53 millimetres of rain in just half an hour early on Wednesday.
The BOM said Sydney had a 70 per cent chance of showers throughout Wednesday but they would most likely ease in the late afternoon.