Summary of Significant Severe Thunderstorm Events in NSW - 2006/07

8 June 2007
Major flooding in Gosford-Newcastle area

Thunderstorms with very heavy rain at Gosford, 53.8mm in 1 hour from 2.10pm to 3.10pm. Severe local flooding reported. Thunderstorms with very heavy rain at Norah Head, 123.0mm in 3 hours from noon to 3pm. Severe local flooding reported. Storm force winds averaged 93 km/h and gusted to 135 km/h, causing widespread damage along the coast. Thunderstorms with very heavy rain at Newcastle, 164.6mm in 6 hours from 3pm to 9pm. Severe flooding reported in main business district of Newcastle. One of highest flood levels ever recorded. Hundreds of cars stranded or swept away. Many shops and businesses flooded. There were nearly 20,000 calls for assistance to the SES over an 18-day period, the 2nd largest event in its 52 year history.

During June the worst flooding in 52 years was reported from the Hunter Valley, with many new long term rainfall records set. Major flooding in Hunter River from 8th to 13th and Paterson/Williams River from 8th to 10th. Moderate flooding in Wyong, Colo and Nepean Rivers. Ten people die in floods including 5 in one family when the Pacific Highway is washed away at Somersby on the Central Coast. About 6,000 people evacuated from Maitland after levee a burst. Many roads closed, major property damage and high stock losses. At Newcastle, winds averaged up to 105 km/h (1.30am on 9th) gusting to 124 km/h. The 76,000 tonne bulk ore carrier Pasha Bulker was blown onto Nobbys Beach in storm force winds on 8 June and not re-floated until 2 July.

Ferry services cancelled on Sydney Harbour. Cremorne wharf collapsed and sank due to large waves on the harbour. Severe beach erosion at many Sydney beaches due to huge swells up to 14 metres high. High winds blew beach sand over 100 metres inland. Over 200,000 homes lost power in the Sydney-Newcastle area due to flooding and high winds. Many thousands more lost phone lines when telephone exchanges were flooded. Natural disaster declared in Hunter and Central Coast with a final damage bill of $1.35 billion.

4 April 2007
Bondi - Rose Bay, Sydney

Thunderstorm with heavy rain and marble size hail. Total of 81mm in 2 hours at Rose Bay which has an average recurrence interval of 1:10 years. Flooding in Double Bay shopping centre damaged property and closed roads.

1 March 2007
Wallacia, Western Sydney

Thunderstorm with heavy rain and strong winds at Wallacia. Winds brought down trees causing damage to houses. Total of 66mm in about 1 hour.

27 February 2007
Severe hailstorm Canberra City

A super-cell thunderstorm at 10.30pm caused heavy rain and hail over Canberra City and Belconnen. Widespread hail up to 3cm size covered ground to a depth of 20cm causing 1 metre high hail drifts in Civic Centre. Up to 63mm was recorded at the Canberra Botanic Gardens in about 1 hour. Roads were closed by the hail causing traffic chaos for the following morning's commuters. Bulldozers were used to clear roads of ice and debris. Many cars were damaged and numerous buildings were closed in the central city area due to water damage. Hail caused extensive damage to the Australian National University which was closed for nearly a week to assess the damage to the 70 buildings and research facilities. Numerous other government buildings were closed along with several schools and Canberra's biggest shopping precinct. Telecommunications were also cut. About 1,100 homes were flooded with over 176 calls for assistance received by the SES.

28 February 2007
Western Sydney

Thunderstorms and heavy rain at Menangle (near Campbelltown) caused local flooding, washing cars off roads and flooding buildings. Several people were trapped in cars. Power lines were brought down in the Heathcote area. About 25,000 homes lost power in western Sydney.  84mm was recorded at Menangle Bridge in about 1 hour. Flooding was also reported from the northern beaches area of Sydney with strong winds and hail.

10 February 2007
Severe thunderstorm Canberra

Very heavy rain caused flooding and damage to houses in suburb of Kambah and Weston Creek. Unofficial reports of 74mm in about 20-30 minutes. Highest fall was 56mm at Stirling College.

10-11 February 2007
Heavy rain Campbelltown

Heavy continuous rain and thunderstorms caused local flash flooding after more than 200mm in 2 days. The roof of a large shopping mall collapsed and about 5,000 people were evacuated from the Campbelltown area.

17 January 2007
Flooding in Cooma

Thunderstorms with very heavy rain caused flash flooding in Cooma township (Southern Tablelands), closing numerous roads. Up to 41mm recorded in about 1 hour.

15 January 2007
Severe hailstorm Nyngan

Very heavy rain and 2cm hail at Nyngan (Central Western Plains) at around 7pm damaged many houses and motor vehicles and uprooted trees. Strong winds brought down power lines causing power outages in the town and surrounding areas. The SES received about 80 calls for assistance and the final damage bill was $3 million. At Nyngan Airport 48mm of rain was recorded during the storm.

The next day, a thunderstorm at Wagga Wagga caused $4 million damage. Houses lost their rooves and trees were uprooted, falling on power lines and cutting power to several areas.

31 December 2006
Severe hailstorm Canberra

Very severe thunderstorm and hailstorm over Tuggeranong and Woden Valley at 6pm. Exceptionally heavy rain (up to 100mm in 1 hour). Pea to marble size hail piled up to depth of 1 metre in suburbs of Chisholm, Fadden and Theodore, blocking drains and causing local flash flooding. Drains could not cope with volume of water with floodwaters and mud entering many homes. Hundreds of metres of stormwater channels were damaged with mudslides blocking Monaro Highway near the suburb of Calwell. The ACT SES received over 250 calls for assistance with the NRMA receiving more than 1600 damage claims. Strong winds damaged some houses and brought down trees. Many fences and livestock in rural areas south of the city were lost. Floodwaters poured into Lake Tuggeranong clogging it with debris. Highest rainfall was 90mm at Chisholm (unofficial). Highest official fall was 50mm at Ashley Drive, Gilmore, while unofficial falls up to 105mm were recorded in Theodore.

31 October 2006
Hailstorms Newcastle area

In the Lower Hunter area, a severe thunderstorm produced 4cm hail which damaged up to 10,000 motor vehicles and stripped leaves off trees. At Kahibah (near Charlestown) there was strong winds and 2cm hail while at New Lambton 3-4cm hail was recorded. Worst affected areas were Wallsend, Shortland and Jesmond. Newcastle city had 3cm hail with hail piled up in streets. The SES received more than 257 calls for assistance from the Newcastle city area. The final damage bill was $52 million.

Preserved in National Library of Australia PANDORA archive logo