Sydneysiders have shared dramatic photos and video of giant hailstones and heavy rain as a severe thunderstorm lashed the city.
Commuters battled severe thunderstorms during their drive home on Thursday evening, with damaging winds also hammering down.
Power is out to thousands of homes and the extent of damage caused by the series of thunderstorm cells is unclear.
Very dangerous thunderstorms were detected near Blacktown and Riverstone, the Bureau of Meteorology said on Thursday evening.
The storms moved east with severe thunderstorms hitting the city and eastern suburbs by nightfall.
Images from the city’s west show golf ball-sized hailstones pummelling cars, while almost 20,000 lightning strikes were recorded across the greater Sydney area.
The State Emergency Service warned residents to move cars under cover or away from trees, secure loose items around homes and keep at least eight metres away from fallen power lines.
— José Molina (@djchema78) March 14, 2019
But the downpour triggered flash flooding, power outages and more than 350 calls to the rescue service.
Roads, trains and even flights were delayed and diverted away from Sydney’s airports.
“NSW SES reports hundreds of calls for assistance while trains, roads and flights have been impacted,” BoM NSW wrote on Twitter.
⚡ #Severe #Thunderstorm #Warning for Heavy Rainfall, Large (possibly Giant) Hail, and Damaging Winds for some storms in the Sydney Basin. Be careful on the roads on the way home!
Keep up to date with warnings at https://t.co/jl1eipgCDX #SydneyStorms pic.twitter.com/uJNzXEMkJV
— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) March 14, 2019
— Claudia Dignam (@lilbitofclaudia) March 14, 2019
— Iain Brew (@IainBrewSydney) March 14, 2019
The conditions were a result of fairly warm and humid air interacting with a low-pressure trough lingering near the state’s coast, a bureau spokesman told AAP.
The big wet could last until early or mid next week.
Friday is forecast to bring showers and thunderstorms to the state’s east possibly extending to the northwestern slopes.
Showers are forecast on Saturday extending to northern inland areas while on Sunday showers will likely reach the far northern inland with a chance of thunderstorms in the north.
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