Commuters are braving wet and windy weather as Australia’s east coast is battered by storms which will bring a weekend of downpours, massive swells and severe flooding.
Sydney has been lashed with more than 100mm of heavy rain since Thursday evening and residents are bracing for another severe thunderstorm on Friday night.
At the Village Central Wyong shopping centre on the NSW Central Coast, over 100mm of severe rain caused the roof to collapse and fall onto the mall floor as shoppers walked by.
Speaking to Daily Mail Australia, centre manager Richard Jack said: ‘It’s been raining outside. Nobody was hurt but the area has been cordoned off and we’re trading as usual.’
Train commuters in Sydney have been delayed by up to two hours due to the rain on services that pass through Lidcombe in the city’s west.
The T1 Western, T2 Inner West & Leppington, T3 Bankstown and T7 Olympic all pass through the station and Sydney trains has now advised commuters to make ‘alternative travel arrangements’.
Meanwhile, there was more commuter chaos on Boundary Street in Roseville on Sydney’s Upper North Shore as flooding brought peak-hour traffic to a standstill on Friday afternoon.
Fire and Rescue NSW crews were brought in to alleviate 150,000 litres of storm water that had flooded the street.
‘If you see flooding, please do not attempt to drive, ride or walk through it,’ Fire and Rescue NSW advised.
Five people have been rescued from floods across the state and 683 calls have been received by the NSW State Emergency Service, prompting them to issue a flood warning.
The wet weather will continue over the weekend as the NSW capital is expected to be hit with up to 400mm by Sunday evening, making it one of the wettest weekends in years.
Although the rain created some dangerous conditions, farmer in NSW’s parched Liverpool Plains region rejoiced by splashing each other in the muddy water.
James Pursehouse, whose family has a farm south of Breeza, welcomed about 20 millimetres on Thursday and had their fingers crossed for more over the weekend.
He said there was ‘definitely a bit of optimism in the community’ and the rain had ‘sparked everyone up’ but it wasn’t enough to make a significant difference.
‘It’s relief, and it looks green from the side of the road, but we are a long, long way from the drought breaking that’s for sure,’ he said on Friday.
‘If we can get 100mm that’s great, but we need hundreds and hundreds more after that.’
Mr Pursehouse, who has cattle and grows a variety of grains and cotton, said the rain they had received would nonetheless ‘freshen up’ their cotton and sorghum crops and help carry them through to harvest.
Jock Tudgey, who farms nearby, said the rain had been ‘relieving’ and gave hope but more was needed.
‘It’s greened everything up, but yeah, obviously more’s gonna get us out of trouble, probably get a crop in, hopefully,’ he told AAP.
Forecasters warned that the storm was set to linger until at least Monday and there will be ‘intense rain bursts’ expected throughout the weekend.
Torrential downpours wreaked havoc in Byron Bay on Thursday night – flooding streets and submerging cars.
Flood warnings have already been issued for Sydney, Wollongong, Lismore, Coffs Harbour, Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, Gosford and Nowra.
Motorists have been told to avoid risking their lives by driving through flood waters as they could be deadly.
Police warned drivers they could ‘die within minutes’ if they are not prepared.
‘Serious flash flooding under extreme rainfall areas could cut main roads and flood some yards, streets, businesses and houses etc. We will issue and post stern warnings very quickly if we identify live risks,’ the warning read.
The wild weather has been building in intensity as it made its way down the New South Wales coast this week, with parts of the state seeing their heaviest downpour on Friday in over a year.
Sydney was drenched by 79mm of rain on Thursday night, while Byron Bay was hammered with 281mm and forecasters have warned that heavy rain is on the way.
‘Drive slower in rain and don’t drive into flood waters – or you could die within minutes.’
Bureau of Meteorology NSW manager Jane Golding said the coastal trough near the northern and central New South Wales coast was expected to deepen and gradually shift southwards over the next few days.
As the system moves, it will likely bring increased rainfall, dangerous wind and wild surf conditions along the central and southern parts of the coast and adjacent ranges.
She said there was a chance of an East Coast Low developing, which are a dangerous weather system that develops rapidly.
‘Awful events happened from East Coast Lows,’ Ms Golding said. The pressure system has washed away bridges and swept away cars in previous years.
Police and SES have also urged residents to avoid beaches as king tides are also expected.
Rock fishers have been told to avoid coastal rock platforms exposed to the ocean and seek a safe location that is sheltered from the surf.
Boaters planning to cross shallow water and ocean bars should consider changing or delaying their voyage, BOM said.
While the deluge of wet weather has helped fire-ravaged communities, with one third of blazes in NSW and the ACT being put out by the rain, concern has been raised about slips happening due to the decrease in vegetation, which typically stabilises the slopes.
A severe weather warning has also been issued for much of the NSW coast, stretching 1000km from Brisbane down to Sydney.
In Brisbane, the torrential rain has been wreaking havoc with more than 50mm of rain hitting the city in 24 hours.
Communities near Tin Can Bay, in the Wide Bay-Burnett region, recorded falls of more than 200mm – eight inches in the old measure – in the 24 hours to 9am on Thursday.
Farmers in drought-stricken areas in the north of NSW and the south of Queensland were celebrating the recent downpour.
National Farmers Federation president Fiona Simson told The Australian the rain came ‘at almost the exact right time of year’.
🌩️⚡⚡ HEAVY BURSTS OF RAINFALL WITH STORMS IN NORTHWEST #NSW. Severe #Thunderstorm Warning for Heavy Rainfall for parts of the Upper Western, Lower Western and Central West Slopes and Plains. Latest warnings at https://t.co/vrZOdcTJ9k. pic.twitter.com/PzDN8Mwg3V
‘Farmers will be hoping that many millimetres of rain fall to replenish depleted soil moisture profiles and set up for the winter cropping season,’ she said.
Grain Growers Ltd chief executive David McKeon said some farmers on properties in the Liverpool Plains in northern NSW and central Queensland and the Darling Downs planted sorghum thanks to the rain.
Panic has set in as residents in Western Australia as they prepare for the onslaught of Cyclone Damien.
Supermarket shelves were stripped bare of meat, fresh fruit and vegetables and suppliers were racing to re-stock as the countdown begins for heavy rainfall and damaging winds on Saturday.
Weather forecasters believe it will be the most severe weather event on the Pilbara coast in six years, leading to widespread destruction for communities around Karratha, Port Hedland and Dampier.
The cyclone started forming off the coast of Western Australia on Wednesday afternoon, and was named by the Bureau of Meteorology after developing into a category one cyclone.
The cyclone was upgraded to a category four on Thursday night, the second-highest intensity, with wind gusts of up to 279kph expected.
All outdoor activities may have to be put on hold this weekend for as much of the country looks set to be drenched.
There is a high chance of showers on both Saturday and Sunday for Sydneysiders – with the storms lingering long into next week.
Melbourians have a few nice days of sunshine before the storms hit on Monday.
Brisbane has little chance of reprieve as the wet weather looks set to stay too. The chance of showers begins to dwindle later into the week, however, residents shouldn’t pack away their wet weather gear just yet.
There’s a 70 per cent chance of rain in Canberra over the weekend, with temperatures dropping to a cool 20C most days.
Thunderstorms are expected to smash Darwin over the weekend, however, heavy winds should begin to ease on Saturday afternoon.
Hobart seems to be missing the severe weather but it will miss out on sunshine too as low clouds linger over the city for most of the week.
Whereas Adelaide and Perth have a high chance of sunshine.