The Sydney Hailstorm - 14 April 1999

An intense, long-lived thunderstorm, moved over Sydney's eastern and city suburbs during the evening hours producing a large swathe of enormous hailstones. The largest measured hailstone had dimensions of 9x8x8cm, although evidence suggests that larger stones fell in the more severely-damaged areas. This hailstorm was of a magnitude seldom seen in Australia, or the world. It stands as Australia's most costly natural disaster (in dollar terms) to date, with insurance claims expected to exceed $1.5 billion dollars!

radar loop of the Sydney hailstorm hailstones picture

Radar loop of the Sydney Hailstorm. Images are at 20 min intervals from 6:50 - 8:10pm

Selection of hailstones that fell in Surry Hills at around 8:00pm on the evening of 14 April 1999. The hailstone below the cricket ball measures 9x8x8 cm.

The main damage path extended from Bundeena in the south to Darling Point in the North and from Sydenham in the west to Bondi Junction in the east. In the worst hit suburbs of Kensington and Eastlakes, there were many streets with damage to every home. In total, over 20,000 properties and 40,000 vehicles were damaged during the storm with more than 25 aircraft damaged at Sydney Airport.

Preserved in National Library of Australia PANDORA archive logo