Rainfall records likely as storms batter the east coast

Severe weather is battering Australia’s east coast with thunderstorms and flash flooding expected to continue across NSW, Victoria and Queensland.

After some centres likely had their wettest Christmas Day on record, more thunderstorm warnings have been issued for Sydney, the Central Coast, Newcastle and the Hunter region.

A storm cell near Dungog, on the Mid North Coast, looks particularly dangerous as it heads southeast, the Bureau of Meteorology reported on Tuesday.

Large hail, damaging winds, heavy rain and dangerous thunderstorms are expected to hit the region.

A severe thunderstorm warning was also issued for the Illawarra and the NSW South Coast with potential minor flooding of the Bega River overnight.

Many communities are still recovering from an onslaught of rain, hail and flash flooding that lashed the state’s Central West, Riverina, South Coast, Central Coast and the Hunter over Christmas.

NSW State Emergency Service volunteers have responded to 473 incidents since Christmas Day, including six flood rescues in the state’s southeast.

Among those assisted were two people who found themselves ankle-deep in floodwater at a home near Bega, and a family rescued from a caravan in Kiama.

Volunteers responded to 492 incidents on Christmas Eve, mostly in Sydney.

The Bureau of Meteorology’s Angus Hines said the wet weather would continue.

“We are in the middle of an extensive thunderstorm outbreak across eastern parts of the country,” he said.

“It is looking very likely that a number of spots through Victoria, parts of NSW and Queensland will shake out to have seen their wettest Christmas on record.”

Mr Hines said the bureau was still crunching the numbers but “looking across the day yesterday it certainly looks like we will see some records check out across Christmas”.

In the Central West, it was a white Christmas for some as heavy hail blanketed lawns.

Residents in the small town of Grenfell were hardest hit when hail struck shortly after midday damaging homes, cars and windows.

There was also hail in Orange, Yass, and across the coast, as far north as Urbenville and Macksville.

At Eurobodalla, 156mm of rain was recorded in three hours, resulting in flooding of local roads, and inundation of some properties.

NSW SES assistant commissioner Sean Kearns warned the volatile weather conditions would pick up again on Tuesday afternoon.

“There has been a severe thunderstorm warning issued for Maitland, Newcastle, the Central Coast, and parts of Sydney Metro,” he told reporters on Tuesday.

“There is also a chance that as we move into this evening those storms may form up on the northeast, and Northern Rivers of the state, and also the Illawarra and the South Coast again, as well as metropolitan Sydney.”


Samantha Lock
(Australian Associated Press)


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