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Thunderstorms tear through Sydney

Joel Pippard, Saturday September 8, 2018 - 11:09 EST

Several severe thunderstorms pushed through southern and central parts of Sydney on Friday evening, bringing heavy downpours, blankets of hail, and a spectacular light show.

Thunderstorms began to develop around 1pm on Friday with a large storm crossing the Southern Shire and Illawarra, turning the Princes Highway into a winter wonderland/driving hazard with pea-sized hail blanketing the area.

However, the most significant storms pushed through the central corridor (south of Penrith to Sydney Airport) of Sydney between 4pm and 8pm. Over 10,000 lightning strikes occurred from an organised multi-celled thunderstorm during this time.

In the middle of this storm cluster, Bankstown recorded 17.8mm in 10 minutes and 44mm in the 30 minutes to 5:52pm. Bankstown's long-term average September rainfall is also 44mm, though usually spread-out over eight days instead of half an hour.

All-in-all, 67mm fell in Bankstown during the storms and showers, more than they've seen in in the last 3 months combined and the wettest September day in 12 years. It was also their wettest day of any month since June 2016.

Nearby, Canterbury and Horsley Park both recorded falls of 12mm in 10 minutes around 5:30pm, totaling 41mm and 28mm respectively overnight. 30mm fell at Sydney Airport and 20mm was recorded in the Sydney CBD. The 17,000 lightning strikes over the Sydney Basin understandably caused dozens of flights to be delayed at the airport and several blackouts were recorded.

Unfortunately, suburbs in the northwest and northeast missed out on the storm and rain with no significant rainfall recorded in the gauges at Penrith and Terry Hills.

The trough and low pressure system that caused this weather has since moved north and east respectively. Thunderstorms are unlikely to form in the Sydney Basin today (though some may form near Brisbane) but a few showers are lingering around this morning.

- Weatherzone

© Weatherzone 2018

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