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Cold, wet and windy weather looms for eastern NSW

Ben Domensino, Monday September 16, 2019 - 11:47 EST

Sunshine and spring warmth will be replaced by rain, snow and blustery wind in parts of NSW during the next two days.

A tongue of warm air is being pushed across NSW on Monday ahead of an approaching low pressure trough and cold front.

Temperatures are forecast to reach the low thirties in eastern NSW and close to 35 degrees in the state's west on Monday afternoon, which is 8-10 degrees above average for some areas. If Sydney reaches its forecast top of 29 degrees, this will be the city's warmest day since April. 

Monday's warm weather, combined with freshening winds, will cause Very High fire danger ratings in northern and eastern parts of the state. These conditions will exacerbate the 48 separate fires that were already burning at 9am on Monday.

Image: Smoky sunset at Lismore, NSW last week. Source: Gary Mcdonnell

Fortunately, the approaching trough and front will also bring rain to some parts of the state during the next few days.

A cool and gusty southerly change will spread over NSW on Monday, reaching central districts in the afternoon and northern areas overnight. The wind change will initially be dry, although rain will develop in its wake.

Showers and isolated thunderstorms will spread across the state's southern, central and eastern districts on Monday and Tuesday and linger in some eastern districts on Wednesday and Thursday. This wet weather will affect a broad area of NSW, although rainfall totals will vary from district to district.

Image: Forecast rainfall between Monday and Thursday according to the ECMWF-HRES model.

The heaviest rain from this system will fall on and east of the ranges between the South Coast and the Mid North Coast, where some areas could receive 20-40mm, with isolated totals over 60mm. 

Showers will be more isolated on the western slopes and plains and the northern ranges, with some places picking up 5-15mm and others likely to miss out completely. Unfortunately, little-to-no rain is expected to fall in the state's northern inland and far west from this system.

The combination of cold air and abundant atmospheric moisture should also produce snow on parts of the southern and central ranges on Monday and Tuesday. A unique setup featuring cold air near the ground overlain with moisture-laden air could cause unexpectedly heavy accumulations of snow in some areas outside of the alps.

The strong southerly change is also likely to cause dangerous surf along the coast this week.  A hazardous surf warning has been issued between the Macquarie and Illawarra Coasts on Tuesday, with further warnings likely to be issued during the middle of the week.

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