Severe storm brings Sydney’s wettest day in 2 years, flash flooding, traffic chaos and 1 000 lightning strikes per hour

A cold front swept through parts of Australia’s New South Wales on Friday afternoon (local time), September 7, 2018, producing severe thunderstorms with 1 000 lightning strikes per hour and dropping heavy rain and a lot of hail. For parts of Sydney, it was the wettest day in more than two years.

Most of the rain fell in the western and southwestern parts of the Sydney basin. Weather stations in Bankstown measured 58 mm (2.28 inches) of rain between 17:21 and 18:21 local time, Friday, including 18 mm (0.70 inches) in just 10 minutes. Within 24 hours, the suburb measured a total of 67 mm (2.63 inches). During the same 60 minutes, Milperra measured 45 mm (1.77 inches) of rain. Heavy rain was also reported in nearby suburbs of Canterbury and Liverpool.

“The figures made Friday the wettest day for Bankstown since June 2016 and the wettest September day for the suburb in 12 years,” said Craig McIntosh, a Weatherzone meteorologist. “These type of storms can completely drench one suburb and totally miss the next,” he said.

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BOM registered lightning strikes at a rate of 1 000 per hour in the 50 km (31 miles) radius around Sydney.

The NWS SES received 162 calls for assistance, mainly for leaky roofs and localized flash flooding.

Heavy rain and intense hail caused flash flooding on roads, causing traffic chaos on the roads. Railway services were also affected after several damaging lightning strikes. Sydney Airport reported significant delays as a result of the weather, the airport spokesman said. 

The front moved out to the Tasman Sea on Saturday.

Featured image: Lauren Cheung

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