Weather News

Sydney: a hot day with thunderstorms and a southerly buster on the way

Ben Domensino, Wednesday February 26, 2020 - 12:00 EDT

Temperatures will reach the low-to-mid thirties across the Sydney Basin on Wednesday, before thunderstorms rumble across the city's sprawling suburbs in the afternoon and a southerly buster charges up the coast in the evening.

Warm and humid air over eastern NSW will see temperatures reach around 33 to 35 degrees across most areas of Sydney on Wednesday afternoon. By 11am, the city had already hit 30.2 degrees.

This warm and muggy air will provide the fuel for thunderstorms development into the afternoon and early evening. Storms were already active over the Central Tablelands District to the west of Sydney at 11am on Wednesday. These storms will continue to develop and spread towards the east during the coming hours, likely affecting parts of the Sydney Basin in the afternoon or early evening.

Image: Thunderstorms over NSW at 11am AEDT on Wednesday.

These thunderstorms could become severe, with damaging winds the most likely threat, although heavy rain and large hail are also possible.

Following the heat and intense thunderstorms, a strong southerly change will sweep along the central coastline of NSW in the afternoon and evening. This southerly buster should reach Sydney between 7pm and 9pm.

Image: ACCESS-C model showing a strong southerly change moving through Sydney on Wednesday evening.

A severe weather warning has been issued for damaging wind gusts along the coastal fringe between Jervis Bay and the Central Coast, including Sydney and Wollongong.

Severe weather and thunderstorm warnings will be issued and updated as the situation unfolds, so be sure to keep up to date with the latest advisories during the remainder of Wednesday.

-- Summer drawing to a close --

Wednesday's mix of heat, storms and a southerly buster is quintessential summertime weather for Sydney. But as the season draws to a close, how has this summer compared to past season in Sydney's 160-year history of weather observations?

The meteorological summer in Australia runs from December to February. Based on the observed temperatures so far this season and those forecasts in the coming days, this is likely to be Sydney's coolest summer in four years when looking at mean and maximum temperatures.

However, despite being relatively cool compared to recent years, this should still come in as one of Sydney's top 10 warmest summers on record - probably in 8th or 9th place out of 160. Final figures will be available at the end of this month.

In terms of rain, a very dry December was compensated by heavy rain in January and February, bringing Sydney's running total for the season up to 514.4mm as of 9am on Thursday. This is the city's wettest summer in 18 years and among its 20 wettest on record.

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