A tornado warning as been issued for Greater Sydney as “fast-moving” storms roll across New South Wales and southern Queensland, bringing hailstones and heavy rain.
The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) issued the severe weather warning for large parts of Sydney and the Central Coast around 4pm.
“The Bureau of Meteorology warns that, at 4:05 pm, very dangerous thunderstorms were detected on the weather radar near Horsley Park, Riverstone and Fairfield,” it said.
“These thunderstorms are moving towards the south to south-east.
“Very dangerous thunderstorms are forecast to affect Parramatta, Sydney Airport, Sydney Olympic Park and Liverpool by 4.35pm and Sydney City, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Randwick by 5.05pm.
“Tornadoes, destructive winds, large, possibly giant hailstones and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding are likely.”
Severe thunderstorms are also expected to hit near Richmond, Newcastle City, Calga, Engadine and Swansea.
“They are forecast to affect Woy Woy, Waterfall and Budgewoi by 4.35 pm and Gordon, Manly and waters off Stanwell Park by 5.05pm,” the BoM said.
Anyone planning to travel between Sydney and Central Coast has been urged to be careful, with large hailstones predicted.
Thunder started rumbling over Sydney around 3.30pm with heavy rain and hail following soon after.
Bargo, in the state’s south-west, has been pummelled with large hailstones, as has Sydney’s west.
There are reports hail has fallen in the state’s Mid North Coast.
The dangerous storms are anticipated across New South Wales and Queensland, Weatherzone said.
The storm front comes after a severe weather warning issued for Brisbane, Moreton Bay and Darling Downs this morning was cancelled.
The BoM said storms are “likely” to re-develop over south-east Queensland this afternoon.
“The cluster is breaking up now but a second round of storms is likely to erupt again this afternoon over a broad area from the NSW border to the southern Capricornia and west to the Maranoa, with a potential for supercell activity in the southeast corner including destructive winds and even giant hail,” meteorologist Shane Kennedy said.
“Showers and thunderstorms redeveloping tomorrow through eastern Queensland with the focus of activity gradually shifting north.”
Meteorologist Jonathan Howe from the BoM had earlier warned tornadoes have been produced by dangerous weather cells like this one.
“Today is tricky because there is a small scale phenomenon but the ingredients for today do line up,” Mr Howe said.
“So we can’t predict where exactly they will form but the environment is conducive to seeing the supercell thunderstorms which do produce their tornado events.”
Storms to intensify from mid-morning onwards
“In eastern Australia, convective clouds will grow taller as the day warms up, allowing showers and thunderstorms to become more widespread and intense from the late morning and afternoon,” a Weatherzone spokesperson told 9news.com.au.
“Storms are likely to develop over a broad area stretching from central Queensland down to northern Tasmania.”
Queensland already feeling force of storms
The BoM was affected when the storm started brewing this morning, with phone lines going down when the building was struck by lightning.
Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud described the storms as “a doozy” in an interview with 4BC’s Neil Breen.
“Huge thunder and lightning here, and it just bucketed down, and it only just stopped probably about 40 minutes ago.
“So, I think the reports around 50 millimetres, so there’ll be a bit of water running into the system, which is good.”
Specific storm warnings have been issued by the BoM for Gold Coast, Toowoomba, Brisbane, Dalby, Ipswich, Coolangatta, Caboolture, Cleveland, Gatton and Jimboomba.
Earlier alerts were put out for Esk, northern Lake Wivenhoe, Somerset Dam, Highvale, the D’Aguilar Ranges and Dayboro.
Loudoun Bridge near Towoomba was smashed by 51mm of rain in just an hour overnight.
People are being warned to take place on the roads with flash flooding possible.
New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory also face a wet day.
Early morning thunderstorms already delivered 20 – 30mm of rain to parts of Canberra, and the ACT may see more storms later today, BOM said.
National weather round-up
Cairns will be cloudy but will avoid the rain further south in the state.
Darwin will also see showers and a possible storm.
Brisbane and the Gold Coast through to the South-East Queensland will see showers and potential severe storms.
A possible storm is heading for Sydney, with a high of 24C forecast.
Canberra will be wet with a high of 18C.
Showers will develop in Melbourne, which will reach 19C.
Rain will increase for Hobart, while showers will ease in Adelaide.
Perth and Alice Springs will be mostly sunny.