Chunky ‘golfball-sized’ hailstones have battered Newcastle in a series of severe storms, turning the NSW seaside city into a rare snowy-white landscape.
A severe thunderstorm warning was issued by the Bureau of Meteorology for Newcastle, 160km north of Sydney, on Friday.
The severe hail was from a cold front moving north through the coastal regions bringing a wintry blast to residents.
Large hail stones rained down over Newcastle’s city centre and suburbs including Merewether, The Junction, Bar Beach and Cooks Hill – as the city bore the brunt of the storm that also hit the Central Coast.
‘A series of small but intense thunderstorms swept over the Central Coast and Newcastle area in NSW on Friday, producing heavy rain, copious lightning and hail,’ said Weatherzone.
Large hail stones rained down over Newcastle’s city centre and suburbs (pictured)
Residents in Newcastle took to social media sharing pictures of snow-white hail amassing on grassed areas (pictured)
‘The thunderstorms formed near a southerly change that swept up the NSW coast on Friday, causing cold air to undercut warmer air, forcing the warm air to rise and produce storms.’
Residents in Newcastle took to social media sharing pictures of snow-white hail amassing on grassed areas.
The intense storm left thousands in the city without power and hundreds needing SES help.
NSW SES received an influx of calls during the storm, with 420 incidents reported.
‘Over the span of 15 minutes alone, we received 45 jobs for hail and roof damage, with an additional 40 jobs waiting in the queue,’ the SES said.
Volunteers are working through the evening on the highest priority jobs, with all 756 calls expected to be answered by Saturday afternoon.
The majority of calls for help were for hail and roof or sky light damage.
Authorities are also warning people to not enter floodwater or go near fallen power lines.
Around 2100 homes initially lost power in Newcastle as a result of the storm, however most have been brought back online.
‘We have no power, no lights, no internet no nothing. Can’t even wash our lunch dishes because I can’t see,’ one resident said on social media shortly after the storm.
SES Hunter duty officer Neil Wildin said he was ‘glad the storm didn’t happen in a larger metropolitan area’ as damage could have been much worse.
The small but ‘intense’ storm formed near Gosford on the Central Coast at about 10.30am on Friday and continued to pick up strength as it barrelled up the coast, producing heavy rain and hail by the time it reached Wyong at 11am, WeatherZone Meteorologist Ben Domesino said.
‘Over the span of 15 minutes alone, we received 45 jobs for hail and roof damage, with an additional 40 jobs waiting in the queue,’ a NSW SES spokesperson said (pictured, hail in Newcastle)
The storm has now passed through the Newcastle area and is heading north through Port Macquarie and the Hunter Coast (pictured, storm damage to a window in Newcastle)
‘The thunderstorms formed near a southerly change that swept up the NSW coast on Friday, causing cold air to undercut warmer air, forcing the warm air to rise and produce storms,’ he said.
The suburb of Merewether was inundated with 56mm of rain in just an hour.
The hail and heavy rain were also accompanied by ‘copious’ amounts of lightning.
Residents have been shocked by the ferocity of the storm.
‘Never experienced anything like this,’ Newcastle local David Diehm said. ‘The hail is relentless!’
The hailstorm is not the only piece of severe weather hitting NSW on Friday, with snow also falling across parts of the state.
‘Snow will settle in parts of Tas, Vic, NSW and the ACT from Thursday into Friday, possibly reaching into parts of northern NSW,’ Mr Domensino said.
‘This will include a decent fall in the mainland alps, helping to create a snow base for the upcoming ski season.’
Perisher received 15cm of snow across Thursday and Friday according to SnoWatch.
It comes as a cold front and its mass of air is producing a wintry mix of low temperatures, rain, snow, hail and strong winds, with the BOM saying that wind speed in Sydney reached 30km/h on Friday.
Never experienced anything like this, the hail is relentless!,’ Newcastle local David Diehm said (pictured, hail in Newcastle)
Newcastle was pummelled by a series of severe storms throwing chunky ‘golf-sized’ hail stones on residents (pictured)
A series of small thunderstorms produced ‘heavy rain, copious lightning and hail’ (pictured)
The storm has now passed through the Newcastle area and is heading north through Port Macquarie and the Hunter Coast.
‘Storms will continue to move further north into Friday afternoon as the southerly change continues to make its way up the NSW coast,’ Mr Domesino said.
The BOM has issued a general storm warning for these areas.
According to Ausgrid, power is expected to return to homes in the next few hours.
There are no current thunderstorm warnings current for the Newcastle region or northern New South Wales, a Bureau of Meteorology spokeswoman said.