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Photograph: CC/Asim Bharwani

JUST IN: Sydney hit by record-breaking extreme weather – possibly more to come

Flash flooding, extreme humidity and record-breaking temperatures

Written by
Alice Ellis

Sydney experienced its sweatiest night in three years over the weekend, but soon after being hit with a level of heat we’re not used to these days, we were hit with extreme rain yesterday. The torrential downpour caused intensive flash flooding that trapped people in their cars. The SES had to perform a total of 19 rescues of people trapped in their vehicles due to flood waters. 

The severe thunderstorms, which were fuelled by oppressively high humidity, also hit the Hunter and Central Tablelands yesterday. More than 51mm of rainfall was recorded in just 30 minutes in south-west Sydney, at Camden Airport.

It didn’t help that flooding over train tracks led to train cancellations between the city and Bankstown during yesterday's peak hour. This came on a day when bus services were also reduced due to union action called due to insufficient volumes of bus drivers.

Fortunately, rainfall (and temperatures) eased overnight, but what’s next for Sydney? According to the Bureau of Meteorology, a significant drop in humidity is meant to start across western NSW from Wednesday and Thursday, as drier air moves in from the south-west. That drier air should reach the coast by Friday, though it’s unlikely to make us feel cooler any time soon – Sydney is forecast to reach 31°C on Friday. Though, with humidity falling to around 30 per cent, the ‘feels like’ temperature will be lower. (High humidity can make temperatures feel about 5 degrees higher than they actually are.)

Be careful what you wish for though, because snow is forecast for the Alps in the coming days, which could start to lower temps by more than we want them to.

This afternoon, there’s a chance of another thunderstorm for Sydney. In case it does come, the SES is urging people not to drive into flash flooding. They’ve pointed out that flash flooding comes on very quickly, but it also tends to go away relatively quickly – so it’s best just to wait somewhere safe if you’re in the car during extreme rain.

Looking for things to do indoors during wet weather? Here's a list of cool things to do when it's raining in Sydney.

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