Residents in the Sydney metropolitan area were warned of possible “tornado activity” and giant hail on Thursday afternoon when a strong storm moved through the city.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe storm warning for much of the New South Wales coastline on Thursday afternoon, including the possibility of a tornado in western Sydney.
The meteorological office warned that the “very dangerous” storm was heading for Fairfield in the west of the city, as well as the possibility of “damaging, locally destructive winds” and “large, possibly giant hail” in a swath of the state.
Some parts of the city were already reporting severe and sustained storm conditions. Images from Penrith, on the western edge of the city, showed a sustained hail storm covering the streets.
The warning area covered an area extending from Armidale in the west, Grafton in the north, and Goulburn in the south. It issued a specific warning for anyone driving on the M1 motorway connecting Sydney to the state’s Hunter and Central Coast region, saying that large hail was expected.
In the late afternoon, power supplier Ausgrid was reporting power outages in suburbs on the state’s central coast, including Bensville, Blackwall and Booker Bay.
The bureau said the severe storm warning came from a deep low pressure system that had entered from the west.
“It will be a bit unpredictable. Storms often tend to change course as they move towards the coast, ”said David Wilke of the office.
“We have a dynamic and highly changing situation, so the best option is to keep an eye on the radar.”
The storms will also spread inland, with Armidale, Tamworth and Goulburn also in the line of fire. Goulburn residents have already reported 3 cm hailstones.
Early morning thunderstorms have also dumped up to 30mm of rain in parts of Canberra, most likely Thursday night.