Sydney weather: winds bring down trees and power lines, cause commuter delays

More than 20,000 homes in NSW were left without power and commuters faced delays on their trips home after wind gusts of up to 110km/h brought down trees and power lines.

Energy suppliers are still working to restore power to thousands of homes and said some houses would be without power overnight.

On the train network, the South Coast Line has been closed in both directions between Thirroul and Wollongong for urgent overhead wiring repairs. A limited bus service is in operation.

Passengers catching the Eastern Suburbs and Illawara Line were also facing lengthy delays after a tree fell on the line at Oatley earlier but normal service resumed about 8pm.

Power lines also fell on the tracks at Harris Park earlier in the day and set back commuters on the Blue Mountains Line.

A fallen tree closed the Great Western Highway at Medlow Bath in the Blue Mountains, causing heavy traffic.

In Sydney, winds peaked at 82 km/h on the harbour in mid-afternoon while the Illawarra recorded wind gusts of more than 100 km/h.

Ausgrid reported power outages in 1,900 homes in Bundeena and Cronulla, which were brought back online at 6.20pm. Endeavour Energy said about 8pm it was working to restore power to 8,800 homes, having already brought 11,000 customers back online.

Endeavour has had to open up three storm centres to manage the power outages.

The State Emergency Service said it had been inundated with calls for help. It had received nearly 700 calls from across the state by 8.00pm.

The combination of the season’s strongest cold front and an intense low-pressure system delivered about half a metre of snow to Perisher and Thredbo ski resorts by Tuesday morning, with more falls since, said Rob Sharpe, a meteorologist for Weatherzone.

It is a bumper snowfall with some mountain areas likely to collect as much as one metre by the middle of next week.

“People will be celebrating,” said Mr Sharpe, who added that powered snow in some areas could be “an almost unheard of” metre deep once a second front moves through over the weekend.

The snow flurries will bring relief to the ski industry after a slow start. Mountain tops at Victoria’s Mt Buller were mostly green grass as recently as Monday, with little snow at most other resorts.

The powerful weather system buffeted Sydney on Tuesday although the basin was spared the worst of the gale-force winds that had been tipped.

Wednesday should see some of the wild weather returning, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting “strong to gale force westerly” winds late morning. Wind speeds should reach 40-60 km/h before easing to 20-30 km/h by the evening.

Temperatures should creep up again after Tuesday’s top of just 16.7 degrees, with days of 19-21 degrees until Saturday.

The next front will bring cooler south-westerly winds, dragging Monday’s maximum for Sydney back to 16 degrees to end June on a chilly note.

Even with the cold burst, Sydney should still end the month with maximums about 2.5 degrees above the long-term average.

With little if any rain expected, the city’s gauges are likely to record close to the current total of 68 millimetres  - or about half the typical June rainfall.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

The story Sydney weather: winds bring down trees and power lines, cause commuter delays first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.

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