NSW has been hit hard by a super cell storm, causing the State Emergency Service (SES) to be inundated with calls for help.
The Sydney basin area has been drenched by the downpour, with intense rain soaking Pyrmont, Blacktown, Woolaware and their surrounding suburbs from 5pm.
The thunderstorm was so intense that the roof of a Coles supermarket gave way to the torrential rain, soaking the shelves and store, while areas of the CBD saw roads flood.
In the state’s south, Lake Conjola was underwater by the early afternoon, drowning more than 40 homes in floodwaters caused by over 300mm of rainwater.
“The rain was relentless, it just did not stop,” resident David Van Dyke told 9News.
“I’ve never seen the lake come up that fast … ever.”
The SES has received over 1200 calls for help across New South Wales today, with over 1000 storm incidents reported.
Couple Sue Anne and Mark had to be rescued from their home as floodwaters rushed in.
“We went to bed at 9 or 10 o’clock the water was normal, then woke up this morning at 6 and yeah the car was under,” Mark told 9News.
“Everything downstairs on the lower level floating around – [it was] quite frightening, [we had] no power,” Sue Anne added.
Strong flood waters swept a car away in Cobargo, in the state’s southeast.
More than 200mm of rainfall caused damaging winds and hailstones in Grafton, Port Macquarie, Taree, Wollongong, Nowra, Batemans Bay, Armidale and Goulburn, with some areas also experiencing flash flooding.
Wollongong, Sydney City, Sydney Airport, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Bondi Beach, Newcastle City, Maitland, Belmont, Budgewoi, Toukley and Gorokan have already been hit by the storm.
The storm will continue to lash the state overnight, stretching from Goulburn to the Queensland border.
The SES has dedicated 22 teams to flood and storm assistance operations in preparation for another downpour in the South Coast and Illawarra regions.
“Flash flooding and riverine flooding is likely, and I would encourage the public to follow the advice of emergency service personnel on the ground and to not drive through floodwater,” NSW SES Assistant Commissioner Sean Kearns said.
“We know flash flooding can bring debris and sewage over the road, and you just don’t know what damage to the road lays beneath the surface.
“Flooding around the Bega River also remains a concern, residents are being asked to prepare, with possible major flooding this evening.
“NSW SES members will be doorknocking residents to warn them of their risks and the potential they may need to evacuate.”
The NSW Rural Fire Service is also joining the preparation, placing a helicopter at Moruya, on the South Coast, to assist in rescue efforts.
“In a first for NSW emergency services, the aircraft will provide a dedicated night-time search and rescue capability to assist those who may be caught in floodwaters,” NSW RFS said in a Facebook post.
“This helicopter will support another two aircraft already positioned at Nowra and Cooma.”
Marine wind warnings, hazardous surf warnings and flood warnings have also been issued from the south coast up to the Queensland border.
From tomorrow, eastern Victoria will be in for a soaking, with falls of up to 100mm expected in the Gippsland region, particularly east of Bairnsdale.
The spokesperson warned of potential flooding that could affect both regions, as well as potential infrastructure and power damage due to strong winds.
Severe storm risks are also affecting Queensland as well as much of eastern and inland Australia.
The spokesperson warned that “super-cell” storms could also be coming in Queensland.
Supercell thunderstorms last much longer than regular thunderstorms, extending over several hours, which gives them the opportunity to intensify.