Damaging winds and severe thunderstorms are surging through New South Wales, with gusts over 130km/h in parts.
From the South Coast to the Hunter winds picked up almost simultaneously at lunch time with the approach of a cold front. Gusts of 85km/h ran under the Harbour Bridge to Fort Denison, with even stronger gusts likely funnelling between some buildings in the city. In the Hunter, Murrurundi was hit by gusts over 100km/h. Even Goulburn Airport felt a gust of 89km/h at 12:30pm.
Earlier, this system provided gusts of 133km/h to Thredbo and 143km/h on Melbourne's Port Phillip Bay with further gusts well over 100km/h in Melbourne causing serious damage.
The trough ahead of the front is currently producing a line of thunderstorms from southwestern QLD to the Hunter, engulfing Walgett, Gilgandra and the aptly named Lightning Ridge among many other locations.
This afternoon the front and trough will continue to surge to the northeast, with severe thunderstorms spreading northeast as the strongest winds arrive later this afternoon with the arrival of the front. This front is also bringing a noticeable drop in temperatures. Albury fell three degrees in one minute this morning, and when wind chill was taken into account, the drop felt more like six or seven degrees.
Winds will only gradually ease this evening across New South Wales as the front moves offshore, however thunderstorms will continue to fire into the evening in the far northeast of the state.
© Weatherzone 2013
18:15 EDT An Australian Urban Search and Rescue taskforce has returned from Vanuatu after a 10-day operation to repair schools and hospitals in Port Vila after Cyclone Pam.