Storm of the century

Heavy thunderstorms rolled across Sydney on Wednesday morning, accompanied by flash flooding, with another wave of bad weather breaking out for the evening commute home.

Close to 100 millimetres was recorded at Observatory Hill station in less than two hours early on Wednesday, SMH reported.

Some of the city’s heaviest totals were recorded around the Sydney Basin and the city’s north and north-west with Mosman (140mm), Sydney CBD (123mm), Chatswood (124mm) and West Pennant Hills (113mm) all topping 100 millimetres.

“For that intensity and that duration, that’s the sort of rainfall you’d expect to occur about once every 100 years for that particular site,” Bureau of Meteorology’s NSW manager Ann Farrell said.

SMH reported that the city’s average for the month of November is 83.8 millimetres.

Flash flooding coincided with the morning commute, closing a number of major roads, the cancellation of all light rail services, flight delays and cancellations and train delays on the T1, T2 and T3 lines, SMH reported.

“The conditions we are experiencing [on Wednesday] are some of the worst I’ve ever seen,” NSW Police Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said.
Authorities responded to nearly 50 crashes, around four times the daily average, during a six-hour window at the peak of the morning’s bad weather.

“In my 12 years here we’ve certainly seen some sustained poor weather, but nothing like this, we are really urging people to slow down and not drive if possible,” NSW Ambulance Acting Superintendent Steve Vaughan said.

Other major thoroughfares including Parramatta Road at Concord, the Western Distributor and Anzac Bridge at Pyrmont were partially closed or experienced significant delays at the height of the storm, the newspaper said.

Trains were also impacted with Town Hall station experiencing a partial roof collapse and Lewisham station experiencing flooding, SMH reported.