Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Sydney Battens Down For Massive Storm

Category Two "Cyclonic" Winds Hit Sydney, East Coast

UPDATE : The State Emergency Service has taken more than 650 calls for help. Trees are down across roads in at least nine suburbs from the south to north coast of New South Wales. Blizzard conditions were expected in the Blue Mountains, above 1200 metres. Winds across the Sydney basin hit gale force after midnight. Storm surges of three to five metres are expected to cause significant beach erosion along parts of the northern coast of New South Wales. The rain falls around Sydney are steady, but still classed as "moderate" by meteorologists. Is it over? Or is the worst still to come?

Wow, that was wild. The rain just stopped. The wind dropped. Went out on the balcony to take a look at Sydney Harbour. Boats in the small bay near here were bobbing around, tree branches and leaves sprinkled across the yard. It was so quiet. And then this sound came. A blood-chilling howl. A wall of wind hit, rain cut horizontally, falling so heavy for a solid minute that visibility decreased to barely a metre. Amazing stuff. I don't think this is over yet....

For the third time in 11 days, the east coast of New South Wales is preparing for huge storms.

There's been some very nervous meteorologists and emergency service spokesmen on the news in the last two hours, warning of a massive storm front expected to smash into Sydney, Wollongong and Newcastle over the next 12 to 24 hours.

Winds are expected to hit 12o-140kmh an hour. Waves could reach ten metres in height. We're being told to stay indoors, and away from windows. They're calling the expected winds "cyclonic".

The huge coal freighter that ran aground last week, on a Newcastle beach, is feared to be on the verge of breaking up.

Blizzard conditions for the highlands, damaging winds, dangerous surf, flash flooding. Here's some of the early warnings :

Emergency crews stand ready tonight as residents of NSW coastal areas brace for what threatened to be the most dangerous of three major storms to hit the state this month.

Cyclonic winds up to 125km/h and huge waves are forecast to batter the coastline from tonight and into tomorrow, starting at Moruya in the state's south and moving north.

Forecasters warned of cyclone-strength winds whipped up by an intense low pressure system.

It's just after 7.30pm in Sydney right now. The rain's coming down, the winds are picking up. Here's a rain and weather map :

Updates to follow through the night.