Monster storm batters Australia’s east coast as – but it’s looking good for Australia Day


Australia’s east coast is being battered by severe thunderstorms sparking flash flooding, large hailstones and power outages – but the forecast remains sunny for Australia Day.

A huge deluge and an estimated 30,000 lightning strikes lashed large parts of New South Wales on Tuesday evening including the Hunter Valley, Sydney and the Illawarra.

Wild weather also slammed Victoria earlier in the day with state emergency services responding to hundreds of calls for help due to the flooding, with 116 requests in Geelong alone.

Melbourne was also badly hit, and more than 6,000 Victorians have been left without power with the rain causing widespread blackouts.

The Bureau of Meteorology said humid and unstable air is what’s triggering thunderstorms in coastal areas.

Powerful winds wreaked havoc in some areas with Shellharbour Airport in the Illawarra recording a wind gust of 93 km/h at 9:30pm.

Elsewhere is NSW, Kempsey, Gosford, Cessnock, Penrith, Parramatta and Kulnura copped the brunt of the downpour.

What had been a warm and bright day ended widespread thunder, heavy rain and storms across Sydney and other parts of the state. 

More than 6,000 Victorians have been left without power with the rain causing widespread blackouts

Western Sydney and the Southern Highlands were hit hard, with high winds, rain and hail smashing suburbs and towns. 

The storms in Victoria hit the Bellarine Peninsula at around 2.15pm on Tuesday, bringing strong winds and a heavy downpour that had soaked the state’s west earlier in the day.

Mount Gellibrant, around 67kilometres west of Geelong, got 29mm of rain in 30 minutes.

As the thunderstorms passed into the east, Melbourne was hit with the deluge about 5pm.

Parts of the city were hit with heavy rainfall and damaging winds, while locals reported severe lightning throughout the late afternoon.

Montrose in the city’s east recorded 23mm of rain in 30 minutes.

BoM said a trough and a ‘hot, moist, unstable atmosphere’ were behind the thunderstorms lashing the region.

Storm advice from State Emergency Services 

  • Move your car under cover or away from trees.
  • Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
  • Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences.
  • Report fallen power lines to either Ausgrid (131 388), Endeavour Energy (131 003), Essential Energy (132 080) or Evoenergy (131 093) as shown on your power bill.
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
  • Don’t walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water.
  • If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.
  • Unplug computers and appliances.
  • Avoid using the phone during the storm.
  • Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.
  • For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.

A more general severe thunderstorm warning is also current for parts of the NSW Mid North Coast, Hunter, Metropolitan, Central Tablelands and Northern Tablelands districts.

State emergency services have advised those in areas affected by storms to stay inside and away from windows, avoid travel if possible and to avoiding dangerous hazards such as floodwater, fallen trees and powerlines.

BoM said Wednesday is expected to be partly cloudy with a high of 28 degrees for both Melbourne and Geelong.

In NSW, the Camden area of south-western Sydney was hit hard by a storm just after 8pm, with the severe rain turning streets into rivers and coating grassy areas with hail.

WHAT THE WEATHER WILL BE IN YOUR NEAREST CAPITAL FROM WEDNESDAY TO FRIDAY

 CANBERRA 

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Min 12 – Max 30.

Thursday: Partly cloudy. Possible storm. Min 13 – Max 32.

Friday: Cloudy. Possible storm. Min 13- Max 29. 

SYDNEY 

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Min 20 – Max 29.

Thursday: Partly cloudy. Min 21 – Max 32. 

Friday: Shower or two. Min 21 – Max 27.

DARWIN 

Wednesday: Showers. Possible storm. Min 25 – Max 31.

Thursday: Shower or two. Possible storm. Possible storm. Min 25 – Max 32.

Friday: Shower or two. Possible storm. Min 25 – Max 33.

BRISBANE 

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Min 22 – Max 32.

Thursday: Mostly sunny. Min 23 – Max 33.

Friday: Partly cloudy. Min 23 – Max 33. 

 MELBOURNE 

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Min 17 – Max 28.

Thursday: Partly cloudy. Min 16 – Max 22.

Friday: Sunny. Min 13 – Max 27. 

ADELAIDE 

Wednesday: Sunny. Min 14 – Max 27.

Thursday: Mostly sunny. Min 15 – Max 29.

Friday: Sunny. Min 16 – Max 37.

PERTH 

Wednesday: Sunny. Min 17 – Max 31.

Thursday: Sunny. Min 17 – Max 31.

Friday: Partly cloudy. Min 17 – Max 25. 

HOBART 

Wednesday: Partly cloudy. Min 15 – Max 26.

Thursday: Partly cloudy. Min 15 – Max 21.

Friday: Partly cloudy. Min 12 – Max 26.

 

Some suburbs reportedly got hail the size of golf balls.

The NSW SES had around 50 call outs, mostly due to roofs leaking because of the rain. 

One SES unit was called to Cox Avenue in Kingswood after getting reports that a car was trapped in floodwaters.

‘By the time the unit got there, there were a couple of other cars that had driven into the same floodwaters,’ an SES spokesperson said.

All of those in the floodwaters got out and are safe.  

The storms in Victoria brought strong winds and heavy downpours (pictured)

The storms in Victoria brought strong winds and heavy downpours (pictured)

Across the country, flood victims in Western Australia’s Kimberley region have been targeted by scammers as authorities attempt to fill empty supermarket shelves.

The scam uses an image of a Serbian politician and contains a link to a phoney Facebook page promising victims $20,000 but actually intended to steal personal information.

Eventually, the scammers request fees be paid up-front to receive the funds.

WA Commerce Minister Sue Ellery says the messages appear to come from a friend who is encouraging the target to contact an agent because they and others have already received the payment.

The south coast of NSW (pictured) has been hit hard by storms on Tuesday evening and night

The south coast of NSW (pictured) has been hit hard by storms on Tuesday evening and night 

‘We strongly advise people in flood-affected areas to be extremely careful and not click on links or give out personal information such as bank details in response to random messages received via text or social media,’ she said.

‘It is unbelievable that criminals have sought to exploit vulnerable people at a time when many of them have lost everything.’

Ms Ellery said there had also been reports of social media commentary about relief funding from the ‘Australian Flooding Agency’, but no such agency exists.

People were also being targeted by fake charities set up to steal money from would-be donors.

A Bureau of Meteorology map (pictured) shows the extent of the storms that hit the NSW coast on Tuesday

A Bureau of Meteorology map (pictured) shows the extent of the storms that hit the NSW coast on Tuesday

In one instance, an Instagram account posing as a legitimate registered charity in Fitzroy Crossing was asking donors to buy Amazon e-gift cards.

Residents in the town of Derby have been left frustrated by supply shortages after the flood damage isolated the town.

Shire president Geoff Haerawa said the town had received dozens of pallets of food and essentials, and was working to get products on shelves.

‘The shelves have been empty in our main supermarket here,’ he told the ABC.

‘I have spoken to the manager, I have spoken up the line, and they’re doing their darndest to get product on the shelf.

‘There’s always a bottleneck somewhere and that’s the fact that the road is out, and we’re having to rely on barges and an air bridge coming across from Broome and other areas.’

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