Weather News

Great balls of fire! Stunning natural light show over Sydney

Anthony Sharwood, Tuesday January 5, 2021 - 22:38 EDT

It was like New Year's Eve all over again except this time, the light show didn't cost taxpayers a cent, and you didn't need a pass for the best view in the house.

The skies of southern Sydney were ablaze on Tuesday evening as a dramatic, prolonged lightning show brought people out of their houses to gasp in awe at one of nature's true wonders.

Image: Much better than the NYE fireworks. Source: Anthony Sharwood

Storms had also struck Sydney on Monday, dumping brief heavy rain and delivering up to 38,000 lightning bolts in the Sydney area.

But this was different. No rain, no thunder. Just an incredible display of sheet lightning in the skies towards Wollongong, which seemed to last for hours, and which drew throngs of Sydneysiders out into the streets.

This reporter's kids were even observed gazing skywards instead of sitting indoors staring at screens for a few precious minutes!

"Sheet lighting simply refers to one or more lightning pulses that occur within a cloud," Weatherzone meteorologist Ben Domensino explained.

"As this obscured lightning illuminates the surrounding clouds, it causes a sheet-like display of light across the sky."

This radar image late on Tuesday evening shows the lightning pulses south of Sydney.

Sydney will be mild with a top temperature around 24 degrees on Wednesday. There's the chance of a shower or two but storms are unlikely.

More breaking news

Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
News Limited

Display Your Local Weather

Weather News

Australia's capital suffering sizzling conditions

12:07 EDT

Canberra, like much of southeast Australia, is in the middle of a very hot spell.

Black Summer donations from Australians nudged $640 million. Getting it to those in need was a miracle

20:54 EDT

The sheer scale of the bushfires that scarred so much of the country's east coast a year ago shocked millions around the world.

Get a sneak peak into the new Weatherzone Beta website experience while we continue to build out its full functionality.
Explore new datasets, map layers, 7-day charts, 12-month trends and much more!