August 10, 2012
A roof blows off a building in North Sydney. Photo: Brian Welch
Boats were blown on shore at Little Manly Beach, a roofs were ripped off and planes at Sydney airport were delayed as Sydney was hit by strong winds today.
The winds reached as high as 106km/h on Sydney Harbour, the strongest gusts in at least six years. And they reached 111km/h at the highly exposed station of Wattamolla in the Royal National Park.
The F6 is closed in both directions between Helensburgh and Bulli Tops due to a bushfire.
All Sydney ferry services between Manly and Circular Quay had been suspended because of large swells, the Transport Management Centre said.
A Sydney airport representative said gusts of up to 75km/h were "causing delays of up to 60 minutes at the domestic terminal". International flights were not affected.
A State Emergency Service representative said there were reports that a roof had been blown off St Paul's Catholic school at Manly and reader Brian Welch spotted a roof flying off a building in North Sydney. A fallen tree also crushed an unoccupied car in Ingleburn. There had not been any reports of injuries.
Sydney and Wollongong, in the Illawarra region of NSW, were the worst hit. The electricity network Ausgrid electricity said winds had left Sydney homes and businesses without power.
Ausgrid representative Kylie Yates said emergency crews were scrambling to restore power. "As soon as we restore power in one area we seem to lose power in another," she told Macquarie Radio. Branches falling on powerlines were the main problem. She said 7000 homes had lost power.
Cronulla, Narrabeen, Mona Vale, North Curl Curl, Belrose, Riverwood and Asquith had been affected by power losses, she said.
Fire & Rescue NSW crews throughout the Greater Metropolitan Area have responded to more than 500 calls for help today as high winds brought down trees, roofs and powerlines and caused major damage to buildings throughout the region.
Bitterly cold air mass
The winds are drawing a bitterly cold air mass over the state and cold winds are making the city feel close to freezing.
Sydney's temperature fell below 8 degrees this morning, but the relentless winds have made it feel closer to 3 degrees.
"Wind chill will have the tendency to drag the temperature down," Bureau of Meteorology duty forecaster Dmitriy Danchuk said this morning.
"For Sydney for today we're expecting temperatures within the 13 to 16 degrees range, but in the middle of the day I wouldn't be surprised if it feels like temperatures slightly above zero."
The New South Wales ski resorts have had widespread falls of 20-40 centimetres of snow during the past 48 hours, with Perisher gaining more than 50 centimetres.
The winds are forecast to continue over the weekend, with isolated showers forecast for Sydney tomorrow and Sunday.
The Transport Management Centre has passengers to allow extra time when travelling on public transport this afternoon due to disruptions because of the strong winds.
- Trains on the Eastern Suburbs & Illawarra Line are up to 15 minutes late as debris is being blown on to the track between Wolli Creek and Arncliffe.
- Route 309, 391 and 392 buses are being diverted away from Bunnergong Road in Matraville as material has blown off a building.
- Buses from the McMahons Point ferry stop are not running due to a fallen tree.
- Sydney Ferries services are suspended between Manly and Circular Quay due to large swells at Manly Wharf. A shuttle bus service is operating instead. Fast ferry services are also still operating between Manly and Circular Quay.
For more information see http://www.131500.com.au/.
Steve Jacobs, Stephanie Gardiner, Weatherzone and AAP
Weatherzone.com.au is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.