Weather warning: East coast set for a hammering
SYDNEY was warned it could be hit with its wettest weather for two months. Turns out a deluge this big hasn't been seen for more like four months.
Almost 60mm of rain fell. That's more rain than fell on the Harbour City in the previous eight weeks combined.
It's showing no sign of abating, with warnings of storms for Sydney and another weather system on the way. The rain "could stick around for a week", according to Sky News Weather meteorologist Tom Saunders.
The lashing of coastal areas of NSW comes as records break elsewhere. Canberra has just shivered through its coldest ever start to winter. Perth, in contrast, has basked in its warmest kick-off to the season.
Elsewhere, a high pressure system is leading to clear skies, cold nights but mild days across the southern parts of the country.
The culprit for Sydney's dreary downpours has been an East Coast low working its way up the coast from the Tasman Sea. The skies opened after dark on Tuesday evening and have just kept going, with 55mm falling on Sydney's Observatory in the 24 hours to 9am Wednesday.
Winds reached 80km/h close to Sydney Airport. A gust of 115km/h, which barrelled through the Royal National Park between Sydney and Wollongong, was gale force in all but name but the Bureau don't classify gales outside of populated areas.
While it's certainly sodden, Mr Saunders said Sydneysiders have had a lucky escape with the rain and winds just below the official yardstick of being declared severe by the Bureau of Meteorology.
"The rainfall has been heavy but it's not quite at the level to get flooding. If the winds were 10km/h stronger and the rain a touch heavier it would have been a warning," Mr Saunders told news.com.au.
But don't rest easy yet, the downpours looks set to continue.
"The rain could stick around for an entire week along the NSW coastline. We could easily see another 50mm today, in fact Newcastle has already seen 20mm since just 9am," Mr Saunders said.
The rain is settling in over Sydney on Wednesday, with the possibility of thunderstorms and maximums of 19C and 13C at night. While it will ease off on Thursday, as the East Coast low exits stage left, it won't clear completely.
"Then everything will re-intensify as onshore winds combine with a near stationary upper low over inland NSW," said Mr Saunders.
"Even heavier rain is possible along the northern coastline, with models now tipping a major rain event and the real possibility of flooding through the weekend and next week.
"The cumulative weekly falls could exceed 200mm along the northern half of the NSW coast north from Port Stephens, that's nearly a winter's worth of rain in just seven days," he said.
This could mean flash flooding in northern NSW and heavy falls in Queensland's south east including the Gold Coast.
The mercury plunged to a freezing 2.6 degrees at Beaudesert, west of the holiday city before 5am on Tuesday.
Temperatures could drop to as low as 7C tonight, making it the coldest night this year so far, reported the Gold Coast Bulletin.
Further north in Brisbane, highs of 20C will sink to 8C overnight.
As the week comes to an end sunny skies and tops of around 22C will give way to some showers on the weekend. In Ipswich, in the west, a low of 4C is forecast early Thursday morning.
Townsville will see highs of between 24C-26C for the remainder of the week with sunshine and overnight lows unlikely to get below 10C.