Newcastle hailstone blitz causes NSW road chaos
Thick, golf ball-sized hailstones have battered Newcastle in a series of severe storms, turning the NSW coastal city into a rare snow-white landscape.
The Bureau of Meteorology for Newcastle, 100 miles north of Sydney, issued a severe thunderstorm warning on Friday.
The heavy hail came from a cold front that moved north through the coastal areas, bringing a winter gust to residents.
Large hailstones rained down over the city center and suburbs of Newcastle, including Merewether, The Junction, Bar Beach and Cooks Hill, while the city was battered by the storm which also hit the Central Coast.
“A series of small but intense thunderstorms swept across the Central Coast and Newcastle in NSW on Friday, bringing heavy rain, profuse lightning and hail,” Weatherzone said.
Large hailstones rained down over Newcastle city center and suburbs (pictured)
Newcastle residents shared photos of snow-white hail on lawns on social media (pictured)
“The thunderstorms formed near a southerly change that swept along the NSW coast on Friday, causing cold air to undercut warmer air, forcing warm air to rise and creating storms.”
Newcastle residents took to social media to share photos of snow-white hail piling up on lawns.
The intense storm left thousands in the city without power and hundreds required SES assistance.
NSW SES received an influx of calls during the storm, with 420 incidents reported.
“In the space of 15 minutes alone, we got 45 jobs for hail and roof damage, with another 40 jobs in the queue,” the SES said.
Volunteers will work through the evening on the highest priority tasks, with all 756 calls expected to be answered by Saturday afternoon.
The majority of the requests for help related to hail damage and damage to skylights or skylights.
Authorities are also warning people not to go into floodwaters or go near fallen power lines.
About 2,100 homes in Newcastle were initially without power as a result of the storm, but most have been brought back online.
‘We have no electricity, no light, no internet, nothing. I can’t even wash our lunch dishes because I can’t see,” one resident said on social media shortly after the storm.
SES Hunter duty officer Neil Wildin said he was “glad the storm didn’t hit a larger metropolitan area” as the damage could have been much worse.
The small but “intense” storm formed near Gosford on the Central Coast around 10:30 a.m. Friday and continued to gain strength as it swept along the coast, bringing heavy rain and hail by the time it reached Wyong at 11 a.m., said WeatherZone Meteorologist Ben Domesino said.
“In the space of 15 minutes alone, we got 45 jobs for hail and roof damage, with a further 40 jobs in the queue,” said a NSW SES spokesperson (pictured, hail in Newcastle)
The storm has now passed through the Newcastle area and is moving north through Port Macquarie and the Hunter Coast (pictured, storm damage to a window in Newcastle)
“The thunderstorms formed near a southerly change that swept along the NSW coast on Friday, causing cold air to undercut warmer air, forcing warm air to rise and creating storms,” he said.
The suburb of Merewether was flooded with 56mm of rain in just an hour.
The hail and torrential rain were also accompanied by “abundant” amounts of lightning.
Residents are shocked by the severity of the storm.
“Never experienced anything like it,” said David Diehm, a resident of Newcastle. “The hail is relentless!”
The hail storm isn’t the only severe weather to hit NSW on Friday, with snow also falling over parts of the state.
“Snow will settle into parts of Tas, Vic, NSW and the ACT from Thursday through Friday, possibly into parts of northern NSW,” Domensino said.
“This includes a decent fall in the mainland Alps, which helps to create a snow base for the upcoming ski season.”
According to SnoWatch, 6 inches of snow fell in Perisher on Thursday and Friday.
It comes as a cold front and its air mass produces a wintry mix of low temperatures, rain, snow, hail and high winds, with the BOM saying wind speeds reached 30mph in Sydney on Friday.
Never seen anything like it before, the hail is relentless!” said Newcastle resident David Diehm (pictured, hail in Newcastle)
Newcastle was battered by a series of severe storms that threw thick ‘wave-sized’ hailstones at residents (pictured)
A series of small thunderstorms produced ‘heavy rain, profuse lightning and hail’ (pictured)
The storm has now passed through the Newcastle area and is moving north through Port Macquarie and the Hunter Coast.
“The storms will continue to move further north until Friday afternoon as the southern change continues to make its way to the NSW coast,” Domesino said.
The BOM has issued a general storm warning for these areas.
According to Ausgrid, power is expected to return to homes in the next few hours.
There are currently no thunderstorm warnings for the Newcastle area or northern New South Wales, a spokeswoman for the Bureau of Meteorology said.