|Woot! Maybe Sydney will be gone by tomorrow morning! :)
||[Sep. 22nd, 2008|06:27 pm]
...as in Sodom and Gomorrah?|
Violent storm rolling across NSW
September 22, 2008, 4:04 pm
A massive storm heading for the NSW eastern seaboard, including Sydney, has cut a path of destruction in western NSW with winds over 100km/h tearing roofs off buildings and felling trees.
Emergency crews across NSW are on high alert as the severe thunderstorm from the northwest engulfs most of NSW and is expected to hit most of the NSW coast late on Monday afternoon.
Wind gusts of 115km/h were recorded on Monday at Fowlers Gap, near Broken Hill, and wind speeds are surpassing 60km/h in western Sydney, a Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) spokesman said.
"It's not one small cell, it's a great large area of strong winds and thunderstorms," BOM duty forecaster Peter Zmijewski said.
"Winds in Sydney have already picked-up in the west."
NSW Maritime has issued a gale-force wind warning with a forecast of four-metre swells off the coast of Sydney and Hunter regions.
Gale warnings have been issued for Sydney, the south coast, the Hunter and the mid-north coast.
The State Emergency Service (SES) has had 90 calls for assistance across far-west NSW.
Strong winds and some rain caused a large tree to fall and crush a car at Broken Hill, SES spokesman Phil Campbell said.
Further south at Hay the damage was more severe.
"There, we've had winds gusting up to 104km/h that have totally unroofed one property and have brought down the verandah at the Terminus Hotel," Mr Campbell told AAP.
The storm is expected to cover most of NSW, the weather bureau says, with the peak of damaging rains and winds expected to reach the east coast by early Monday evening.
The SES is bracing for much greater damage once the brunt of the storm reaches the coast.
"The biggest risk will come this evening as we do have more populated areas such as the eastern seaboard impacted by these severe weather warnings and destructive winds," Mr Campbell said.
He said rain has been less of a factor in the state's west but could be disastrous later on.
"Generally when the rain is falling, it's only very quick according to our volunteers out in the field," he said.
"But there is heavier rain due in tonight and if properties get some damage due to wind, rain will exacerbate that damage."
The SES recommends people secure loose items around houses and properties, keep clear of fallen power lines and unplug computers and appliances.
People should also stay away from windows and keep children and pets indoors.
NSW Maritime is urging boat owners to check their moorings and exercise caution while on the water.
NSW Emergency Services Minister Tony Kelly said residents should not underestimate the conditions heading for metropolitan and regional areas.
"There are warnings of large hailstones in the north of the State in Moree and Tamworth, and there's concern there'll be a destructive line of winds from Nowra in the south through to Broken Hill," Mr Kelly said in a statement.
"This is an unfortunate but timely warning that now is the time for residents and businesses to be prepared."