The NSW coast has been battered by cyclonic winds overnight as a ferocious cold snap wreaked havoc across the state.
Waves higher than 10m were recorded along the central stretch of the coast and gale force winds up to 130km/h hit Kiama, south of Sydney.
Sky News Australia chief meteorologist Tom Saunders said those winds were “equivalent to the speed of a category 2 tropical cyclone”.
Gusts of 128km/h were recorded at Montague Island, Point Perpendicular was hit by 124km/h winds, Wollongong 120km/h, Jervis Bay Airfield 107km/h and Ulladulla and High Range 100km/h.
Sydney Airport has recorded more than 52mm of rain in the past 24 hours, while the city was drenched with 40mm falling.
These wind radar images show exactly what’s going on at the moment. Basically the deeper the colour (either blue or orange) the higher the wind speed. Gusty conditions continue tonight, so take care around trees, powerlines & on the roads https://t.co/Ss766eSCrL@NSWSESpic.twitter.com/bPIN8HJv1d
— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) August 24, 2021
The Illawarra region recorded the highest totals, with 105mm falling at Mt Wanganderry
Mr Saunders said it was all due to a rapidly forming east coast low but there would be some relief from Wednesday as it drifted away from the NSW coast.
“It’s now moving away from the NSW coast and as a result the winds will drop below gale force on Wednesday morning,” he said.
“That system will still generate gales offshore, so the large swells will continue.
“The swells are still very dangerous on Wednesday, with maximum waves close to 10m. The absolute maximum will be over 10m.
“There’s not much rain left over for eastern NSW from Wednesday afternoon onwards.
“The heaviest rain is now off the coast, but the Gippsland area (in Victoria) through Wednesday and Thursday will still have moderate falls.”
Mr Saunders said the dangerous swells would start to ease on Wednesday afternoon but there would still be hazardous surf conditions on Thursday afternoon.
He said snow would continue to fall in the southern alpine areas, such as Perisher, on Wednesday and Thursday.
A damaging winds and surf severe weather warning remains in place along the coast from Gosford down to Eden.
Flood warnings are also current for the Severn, Peel, Bell, Lachlan, Murrumbidgee, Barwon, Darling, Belumbula, Cooks and Macquarie rivers.
Elsewhere across the nation, an area of high pressure is dominating central and eastern parts of Australia, leading to cool conditions up to the southern tropics.
Overnight temperatures have dropped over the last few days, with large areas of Victoria and central NSW falling below 5C. It is expected to be a frosty finish to winter on Friday and Saturday.
Originally published as Cyclonic winds smash NSW coast