An intense low pressure system off the central NSW coast is expected to move away to the northeast this afternoon and evening. Gale force winds, localised heavy rain and large swells are being generated near and to the south of this system.
Heavy surf which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion is forecast for the South Coast, Illawarra, Sydney Metropolitan and Hunter forecast districts (including the Central Coast). Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas. Swell conditions are expected to ease from the south late today.
Damaging southerly winds of around 65 km/h with peak gusts of 100 km/h are forecast for coastal parts of the South Coast, Illawarra and Sydney Metropolitan forecast districts, extending to the Hunter forecast district (including the Central Coast) later this afternoon. Winds are expected to ease from the south late this afternoon and evening.
Severe weather reports
According to the Bureau of Meteorology the following examples of severe weather have been reported from this weather system.
* Large amounts of small hail were reported at Sussex Inlet around 3am last night from a slow-moving thunderstorm.
* Ulladulla recorded 233 mm of rain in the 24 hours to 9am today. Burrill Lake (south of Ulladulla) reported 300 mm in the same period.
* Gale force winds with gusts to 98 km/h have been reported at both Point Perpendicular and Montague Island on the south coast. Bellambi (Wollongong) and Ulladulla recorded gusts of 92km/h.
* The offshore buoys near Batemans Bay and Port Kembla recorded wave heights of 8 metres overnight and earlier today.
* Snow was been reported at Bungendore, Bowral, Braidwood, Moss Vale and Goulburn on the Southern Tablelands earlier this morning, Porters Retreat, Oberon, Orange, Wentworth Falls, Lithgow and Blackheath on the Central Tablelands, and Glenn Innes and Guyra on the Northern Tablelands. Falls in the Blue Mountains of 15-20cm were reported. Falls in other areas were generally light.
EFFECTS AND NSW SES RESPONSE
The NSW SES has received a total of 498 requests for assistance. This has kept volunteerrs busy undertaking temporary repairs, assisting stranded motorists and removing trees and branches from roads and driveways. The bulk of calls have been for leaking roofs and for damage caused by falling trees and branches brought down by strong winds. In the St Georges Basin area, a total of 65 Requests for Assistance (RFA) were received in a two hour period as heavy rainfall and small hail affected the area. The hail blocked gutters and downpipes and resulted in backflooding of rainwater into the roof cavity.
In the Ulladulla/Burrill Lake area there was no significant damage to property reported, however the Princes Highway was closed for a period due to flood water.
The rain and wind impacts then spread along coastal areas northwards through Nowra, Shellharbour, Wollongong areas generating additional RFAs due to flash flooding and fallen trees.
Strong winds are currently impacting the coastal fringe in the Sydney Metropolitan area with 128 RFAs received across this area this afternoon.
The weather system has also generated cold conditions and snowfall across the tablelands of NSW. Significant disruption to road travel and transport has occurred, with also some power outages in the Southern Tablelands area.
In the Blue Mountains, the closure of the Great Western Highway between Bullaburra and Mt Victoria has resulted in 300 vehicles and occupants being stranded. Welfare refuges were established at Medlow Bath, Katoomba and Blackheath for motorists to await the re-opening of the road. NSW SES and NSW RFS provided transport for motorists to the refuge. These roads have reopened but there is the possibility of melted snow refreezing overnight creating hazardous driving conditions.
Rain on the south coast did not result in expected flooding on the Shoalhaven River.
Some significant RFA’s received have been:
St Luke’s Clair Hospital – very large tree split and located near some hospital buildings. SES Unit in attendance.
Hill Top Public School – tree fallen onto school building.
Christ the King Primary School, The Rocks - water leaking into library.
The NSW SES is asking people to drive carefully in areas affected by snow and ice and localised flash flooding, and to watch for fallen trees and branches caused by wind.
If you suffer damage and require emergency assistance call the NSW SES on 132 500 or 000 if it is a life-threatening emergency.