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'What's that in the sky?' Dramatic storm catches Sydney off guard

Anthony Sharwood, Wednesday December 2, 2020 - 08:41 EDT

A spectacular storm rolled into Sydney on Tuesday evening and it seemed like half the city was out there capturing it with their cameras, while the other half was staring in wonder.

There were dramatic scenes all the way from the western suburbs to eastern beaches like Bondi, as the storm rolled in from the southwest with associated lightning, thunder and dramatic cloud formations.

Local weather enthusiast and photographer Tyson Millar captured this image from the grassy lawn overlooking Bondi Beach.

"It was marching in from the wouthwest and with everyone admiring the beach to the east, it caught a lot of people off guard," he told Weatherzone.

Image: The local Bondi hipsters are far too cool and aloof to be interested in dramatic clouds. Source: Tyson Millar.

The storm looked particularly impressive because of the shelf cloud at its leading edge. A shelf cloud is a horizontal cloud which forms along the base of heavier storm clouds, at the boundary between cool air and warm air.

It often appears to be rolling, as the video in this tweet clearly indicates.

The storm provided a welcome respite at the end of a hot first day of summer in the harbour city, with temperatures falling just shy of 40 degrees in the western suburbs.

While the storm dumped just 6.8 mm of rain at Sydney's "official" weather station at Observatory Hill beside the Harbour Bridge, this was still the heaviest rain in the city for more than three weeks.

The whole Sydney metropolitan area has enjoyed well-above average rainfall in 2020, however November was slightly drier than usual, with 69 mm in the gauge at Observatory Hill compared to the average of 83.8 mm.

Sydney should remain mostly dry for the remainder of the working week, with the chance of showers on Saturday.

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Sydney Morning Herald
ABC News
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