Sydney, NSW, Canberra, ACT weather: Thunderstorms, hail risk
Parts of New South Wales are expected to see “explosive thunderstorm activity” today, while Sydneysiders and Canberrans are encouraged to be on watch for a run of wild weather.
The forecast for this afternoon marks the start of a potentially nasty three-part weather system lasting days.
The Bureau of Meteorology forecast for Sydney on Sunday is a “near 100 per cent” chance of rain, developing in the afternoon and evening with a possible thunderstorm.
The rainfall estimate is between 10 and 16mm.
“At this stage, the most likely thing is it’s good news for people who need to get some water in their gardens and get a bit of water in the catchment areas,” Bureau forecaster Rob Taggart told news.com.au this morning.
“Having said that, thunderstorms can sometimes do surprising things.”
He said there are parts of Sydney where drainage is pretty poor and rainfall totals that are not usually considered severe can still put a lot of water on the road.
Mr Taggart said today’s weather will be the “first batch” of a “fairly complex system” due to hit the city over the next three days.
“We’ve got a second wave of possible showers and thunderstorms tomorrow and a third on Tuesday,” he said.
“In terms of rainfall, today – particularly later on – will be the wettest part but there is a possibility of severe thunderstorms through the Sydney area tomorrow.
“At this stage they’re not rated too high but there is a risk.
“Tomorrow, there is a bit of hail risk.”
He said the smoke haze over the city will be cleared away by the rain and change in winds.
“That’s something else that’s good about this system coming through,” the forecaster said.
Other areas of the state are forecast to experience a higher chance of severe thunderstorms today including the Central West, Riverina and Far West districts, and possibly the South West Slopes and Southern Ranges.
“Basically, there’s a bit more what we call instability – there’s more energy in the atmosphere to encourage thunderstorm development and more explosive thunderstorm activity,” Mr Taggart said.
“There’s the possibility of damaging wind gusts as well as large hail.
“We do expect there to be sharp bursts of rain … not lingering long enough to produce really severe flash flooding for most of those areas although I wouldn’t rule it out entirely.”
He said the BOM hopes rainfall around the Mid North Coast overnight and tomorrow will help firefighters battling dozens of relentless bushfires in the area.
“It’ll be kind of hit-and-miss around the Mid North Coast with thunderstorm activity,” he said.
“There are so many (bushfires) we’re hoping at least some get a good dousing of some rain.”
A large band of lightning and strong winds is moving across NSW ahead of forecast rain. We’re hoping this doesn’t add to the 72 fires burning across the state already. Report all unattended fires to Triple Zero Emergency (000). #NSWRFS pic.twitter.com/kR4H6yv9gj
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) November 2, 2019
He said the thunderstorms come with “good news too” given the state’s in the grip of drought.
In the 24 hours to 9am today, there was encouraging rainfall in places such as Gumbooka (49.4mm), Bourke Airport (28mm), Wagga Wagga (almost 25mm) and Cobar (22mm).
“We expect more falls through those areas and also the Central West today,” Mr Taggart said.
It’s been “very dry” in the nation’s capital and the BOM hopes there is much-needed rainfall.
“Canberrans should just be a little bit vigilant,” Mr Taggart said.
“We’ll be able to give a heads-up.”
Originally published as ‘Explosive’ thunderstorms to hit today