The city has been soaked by dangerous thunderstorms that left several vehicles stranded in floodwaters and torn roofs of a shopping mall.
Sydney residents were warned of a potential tornado on Thursday afternoon as a series of rapid and unpredictable thunderstorms rolled over the city.
Parts of the city experienced severe storm conditions with thunder, lightning, strong winds and heavy rainfall, while thick hailstorms left some areas that appeared to have been covered in snow.
The Bureau of Meteorology said hundreds of requests for help, power outages and traffic problems were made to the NSW State Emergency Service.
The west of the city was hit by a “very dangerous” storm that prompted the weather bureau to warn of possible “tornado activity” between Penrith and Blacktown.
The tornado risk was later downgraded, but the wild weather caused a flash flood and tore the roof off a shopping mall in Westfield, Mount Druitt, where shoppers were evacuated in the middle of the rainstorm.
Three vehicles were stranded in floodwaters in Merrylands, where rescue crews were called to help the drivers.
NSW Rural Fire Service reported hundreds of lightning strikes as a result of the storms sweeping over the state.
A severe weather warning was issued and remains in place for almost the entire east coast of NSW, from Yass up to Grafton and as far west as Mudgee.
Weather forecasts earlier on Thursday had said damaging winds, heavy hailstones and heavy rainfall were likely to lead to flooding.
The worst of Sydney’s storms had moved off the coast around 5pm, but rain continued to fall over parts of the city later in the evening.
The weather bureau around 7pm predicted the storms to weaken overnight, but warned that thunderstorms are likely to come over northeastern NSW again on Friday.
Earlier, a flood warning was issued for the southeast corner of Queensland when a monster storm threatened to drop hail in a tennis ball on Thursday afternoon.
The nation’s east coast woke up to a deluge, with heavy rains hitting northern NSW, Sydney, Canberra, Melbourne and Tasmania overnight.
Brisbane, Gold Coast and Toowoomba had already been smashed for several hours at dawn.
Sky News Weather meteorologist Alison Osborne said that within a few hours, rainfall had fallen in Brisbane, with some suburbs reporting close to 90 mm.
Heavy thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near the area west of Esk, with a cell moving rapidly to the east, causing heavy rainfall that has led to lightning floods south of Brisbane.
Emergency services also reported a number of minor wet weather crashes across the state’s southeast, including a five-car pileup on the Pacific Motorway at Eight Mile Plains.
“Dalby is collecting an absolute monster at the moment,” said local resident Adam Ogden, the Courier mail reported.
“Rain has settled down. POURING in Brisbane. Visibility is poor, so take it easy on the roads, “wrote 9 News journalist Jess Millward.
Forecaster Jonathan How said the cell’s condition meant predictions could be “hit and miss,” but Thursday was nonetheless “highest danger day” in the current wild weather system.
Mrs Osborne said: “The atmosphere is at its peak for storms at the moment.”
There is a good chance of more storms in Sydney and Melbourne, the bill said.
Wind alarms from storm damage were also alive for southern Australia as deep low-pressure system centers move across the southwest coast of the Eyre Peninsula.
On Thursday, harmful winds are expected, averaging 50 to 65 km / h at times with maximum gusts of 90 to 100 km / h.
Areas with raised dust are also possible.
Heavier-than-expected summer rains in the country’s north and northeast look more likely this summer after the agency on Tuesday raised its ENSO outlook from a La Nina “clock” to “alarm.”
The Bureau said continued cooling in the tropical Pacific throughout September – and subsequent warmer oceans near Australia – had increased the chances of La Nina from 50 per cent to 70 per cent, about three times the normal probability of an event forming annual.
Originally released as Sydney spared tornado when supercell storms hit Queensland, northern NSW