A massive cold front sweeping across the country’s southeast has led to states being battered by heavy storms and damaging winds of up to 100kmh.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) forecasts the cold westerly front, which brought thunder, lightning and damaging winds to parts of eastern and southeast Australia on Thursday, is now moving out to sea.
NSW’s State Emergency Service (SES) received more than 200 calls for help around the state as strong winds lashed many parts of the state over the past 24 hours.
Much of the damage was concentrated in the Sydney Metro area.
“Most of the incidents were for fallen trees, including some very large ones which blocked traffic and impacted powerlines,” Zone Commander Flaxman said.
“Three large trees also caused extensive damage to’ a property at Frenches Forrest.”
The stormy weather continues to impact flights in and out of Sydney and Melbourne.
Dozens of flights were cancelled after both airports had their operations restricted to a single runway on Friday morning due to high winds.
There were 245,000 lightning strikes within an 800 km radius of Bourke during the 24 hours ending at 9am AEST on Friday, according to Weatherzone.
The lightning struck most of NSW and also parts of Queensland, Victoria, the ACT, Tasmania, South Australia and the Northern Territory on Friday.
An outbreak of early-spring thunderstorms has caused prolific lightning over Australia’s southeastern states during the last 24 hours.
More details at: https://t.co/vaou7KQpK7pic.twitter.com/LyUFrFLlZv
— Weatherzone (@weatherzone) September 8, 2023
A damaging wind warning remains in place for parts of Victoria, New South Wales and King Island (north of Tasmania).
BOM Senior Meteorologist Angus Hines said the southeast can expect gusty winds across Friday but that will ease tonight, with “much calmer weather in store” across Saturday and Sunday.
“There’s already been numerous power outages across parts of Victoria and we can expect that to continue across Victoria,” Mr Hines said.
Mr Hines warned the MCG may even see hail on Friday night.
The bureau warns that the southwest flow could see gusts reach over 90 – 100 km/hr today but are set to ease during the second half of the day for most areas.
Some of the strongest winds recorded in the 24 hours to 9am AEST on Friday include:
142 km/hr at Thredbo, NSW
137 km/hr at Hotham, Vic
111 km/hr at the Limestone, SA
109 km/hr at Port Fairy, Vic
104 km/hr at Condobolin, NSW
90 km/hr at Penrith Lakes, NSW
81 km/hr at Melbourne Airport, Vic
With the continued strong winds, there will be showers and small hail for large parts of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania today that will ease by this afternoon.
A Damaging Surf Warning remains in place the southwest, central, west, and south Gippsland forecast districts in Victoria, with waves of seven metres or more forecast before easing later in the day.
Thunderstorms are continuing for parts of central and northern New South Wales.
“The thunderstorm risk spreads into southeast Queensland today, with the possibility of severe thunderstorms in eastern regions from Port Macquarie up to the Capricornia district, including parts of the southeast coast and eastern downs (of Queensland),” BOM said in a statement.
“The main concern with these thunderstorms is the possibility of damaging wind gusts, large hail, and heavy rain.”
Southeast Australia can expect showers, small hail and low-level snow persisting over Tasmania and southern Victoria over the weekend.
NSW and northern Victoria are set to have dry, sunny weather on Saturday and Sunday, with frosty mornings inland.
In Queensland, thunderstorms are also forecast to mostly contract offshore although some may linger through the southeast on Saturday.