Summary of Significant Severe Thunderstorm Events in NSW - 2005/06

26 February 2006
Thunderstorms and flash flooding in the Sydney-Wollongong area

Thunderstorms caused flash flooding in parts of Sydney and Wollongong areas during the evening. A woman was swept to her death near Berry to the south of Wollongong after attempting to drive across a flooded causeway. On the Illawarra coast significant rainfall totals were Reverces (113mm), Wonhawilli (110mm), Dombarton Loop (108mm) and Wattamolla (97mm).

In Sydney, very heavy rain caused flash flooding in Penrith, Glenmore Park, St Marys and Northmead. Roads were closed and cars were stranded. Glenmore Park recorded 94mm of rain in 3 hours, Horsley Park 48.8mm in 60 minutes, Homebush 24.2mm in 30 minutes and Turramurra 40mm in 30 minutes. Avalon on the northern beaches recorded 101mm in about 2 hours.

2 December 2005
Canberra severe storm

A severe thunderstorm with heavy rain and strong winds and possible tornado caused widespread damage to more than 50 suburbs in Canberra. The storm brought down hundreds of trees and power lines and unroofed buildings. Over 1,000 homes lost power. A man from the suburb of Curtin died when a large eucalyptus tree fell on him during the storm.

The storm cut a swathe across the Territory from Belconnen to Fyshwick and created havoc for peak-hour traffic. The ACT State Emergency Service received 441 calls for assistance after the destructive weather struck around 4:30pm. All ACT SES Crews were engaged and were assisted by 17 ACT Fire Brigade pumpers to undertake recovery operations throughout the night. Calls for help ranged in nature from fallen trees and damaged homes to motor vehicle accidents and a gas fire. The industrial suburb of Fyshwick was one of the hardest hit areas with at least 14 damaged buildings costing $4 million to repair. Total damage bill for the whole city was $15 million.

23 November 2005
Severe storms over a wide area of NSW

At Murwillumbah (Northern Rivers) there was a thunderstorm with very heavy rain with 47mm recorded in 45 minutes. At Wellington (Central Tablelands) a thunderstorm with very strong winds unroofed several houses and snapped power poles which caused widespread power outages. At Parkes (Central West Slopes) downpours from thunderstorms produced 36mm in 30 minutes. At Orange (Central Tablelands) heavy hail caused severe crop damage with an estimated damage bill of about $8 million.

7 November 2005
Flooding Parkes-Eugowra area

Very heavy rain from severe storms on evening of 7th caused major flooding in the Parkes-Eugowra area of the Central West Slopes. The town of Eugowra was placed on alert for major flooding and authorities started evacuating all residents from the town on the Tuesday morning. The Department of Community Services established an evacuation centre at the Parkes showground. While the Mandagery Creek rose only to 9.5m, one metre less than its predicted peak, significant damage was still sustained and Eugowra was declared a natural disaster area. The NSW Government also declared the Cabonne and Parkes Shires natural disaster zones. Parkes recorded 127mm for the 24 hour period ending 9am (8th), the 2nd highest daily rainfall on record, not only for November but for any month (records commenced 1889). The total damage bill (insured cost plus commercial cost) was $19.3 million.

6 November 2005
Broken Hill thunderstorm and tornado

Broken Hill (Upper Western) was declared a natural disaster area after a severe storm with heavy rain, lightning and strong winds caused extensive damage to the township shortly before 9pm. The Bureau's automatic weather station at the airport was disabled by the storm shortly after it recorded a wind gust of 105 km/hr. Approximately 100 homes and public infrastructure were damaged. Residents reported tornado like conditions that lifted roofs, sheds, fences, verandas, and even a 150kg air conditioning unit, hundreds of metres away. Windows were shattered, trees ripped out of the ground and power lines downed cutting power to thousands of people. There was a report of a car being lifted from the street by the wind and thrown into a fence. It was also reported that 100 residents were evacuated to a basketball stadium after their homes lost their roofs. Two people needed to be rescued after being trapped in their car by flash flooding. The local SES responded to over 150 calls for assistance. The damaged bill was $3.8 million. See special report.

24 October 2005
Hail and wind damage in Bulahdelah area

At Stroud (Hunter) golf ball size hail was observed and houses were damaged by strong winds. The damage bill was estimated at over $1 million in the Stroud-Bulahdelah area. At Bulahdelah (Mid-North Coast) golf ball size hail broke windows and damaged cars and houses. Marble size hail and 37mm of rain occurred in 20 minutes, 7 kilometres north of Gloucester.

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