Storm warnings for NSW and Canberra with strong winds, hail forecast

More severe thunderstorms are forecast for most of New South Wales and the ACT after fierce weather on Friday led to blackouts and hundreds of calls for help.

An updated warning on Saturday afternoon included parts of Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and greater Wollongong area.

Severe thunderstorms started rolling in over the Blue Mountains from about 2:30pm and were expected to bring large hailstones and damaging winds to the western suburbs of Sydney later this afternoon.

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has detected very dangerous thunderstorms over Parramatta, Erskine Park, Fairfield, Horsley Park, Leppington and Liverpool.

The storms are moving south-east and are expected to impact the areas of Sutherland, Sydney City, Sydney Airport, Sydney Olympic Park, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Ryde, before hitting Sydney’s centre into the evening.

A more general severe thunderstorm warning is also current for the Northern Rivers, Hunter, Metropolitan, Illawarra, South Coast, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, South West Slopes, Snowy Mountains, Australian Capital Territory and parts of the Central West Slopes and Plains, Riverina and Northern Tablelands districts.

BoM said other areas in NSW set to be affected by the wild weather included Orange, Mudgee, Bowral, Katoomba, Bathurst, Goulburn, Cooma, Yass, Dubbo, Parkes, Tumbarumba, parts of the Hunter and Canberra.

So far today, the ACT SES has received 28 calls for help, although no serious damage had been reported.

An updated warning on Saturday afternoon included parts of Sydney, the Blue Mountains, Hawkesbury and greater Wollongong area.

Some cars were forced to pull over on the M4 about 4:00pm as rain and small hail pelted down.

At Badgerys Creek, the storm produced severe wind gusts of 98 kilometres per hour.

And at Toongabbie, 30mm fell in 10 minutes to 4:50pm.

The SES warned residents to move their cars undercover, to secure items around the house and yard and to unplug any computers or devices.

“We’re expecting storms to develop during the afternoon and persist into the evening, with the potential for heavy rainfall, damaging wind and large hail,” BoM forecaster Olenka Duma said.

It is the second day of wild weather for Sydney.

On Friday the NSW SES received more than 700 calls for help after intense storms swept across the eastern half of the state.

More than 55,000 people were left without electricity due to the storms but energy companies said power had been restored to the majority of customers.

A man who was stranded in a tree for two hours was among 16 flood rescues carried out by emergency services.

Most of the jobs came from regions in Sydney’s south and south-west.

“[There were] people caught in vehicles, people that entered floodwater in their vehicles – some of them were quite serious,” Sue Pritchard from the NSW SES said.

“We had one in particular where our teams went to a flood rescue and found that there was another person stranded in a tree and he’d been there for two hours.

“He was alright but certainly very shaken and very fatigued.

“If you can imagine being in two to three metres of water in the middle of the night, in the pitch black, trying to find somebody, it’s a very dangerous situation for the people trapped and for our volunteers.”

ACT SES received 37 calls for help in Canberra after heavy rain and hail on Friday afternoon, but there were no reports of serious damage