June 2007 East Coast Lows

NSW Regional Office


Other background information on the East Coast Lows is available at:


Satellite image: 8:30am 27 June 2007 - originally processed by the Bureau of Meteorology from the geostationary meteorological satellite MTSAT-1R operated by the Japan Meteorological Agency

Summary of Events

Five east coast lows (ECL) occurred during June 2007 which was rare but not unprecedented, with other notable years including 1974 and 1950. During June this year, the NSW Regional Office issued over 750 warnings including Severe Weather Warnings, Flood Warnings and Marine Wind Warnings.

The five lows, each of which brought varying amounts of rainfall and associated weather to the NSW and eastern Victorian coasts, were the result of favourable conditions developing in both the upper atmosphere and coastal waters off NSW during June. Three of the five ECLs that were observed during the month developed in an easterly trough, one of seven types of ECL synoptic classifications. See How do they form?

In terms of impacts on the NSW mainland, the first event (June 8-9) was the most serious. Offshore, the third event (June 19-20) was the most intense with a minimum central pressure of approximately 982 hPa. Fortunately the full impact of this low was not felt over land areas.

Date and estimated lowest central pressure

Strongest wind gusts

Highest 24 hour rainfall recorded


8 - 9

990 hPa

Norah Head at 1:30am on the 9th

Newcastle Nobbys at 1:32am on the 9th


293.6mm at Mangrove Mountain (Central Coast) to 9am on the 9th.

  • Small scale low, moving west, crossed the coast at Newcastle about 1:30am on 9 June.
  • Impacts included nine fatalities, major flooding in the Hunter Valley, gale force winds and flash flooding in Newcastle and Central Coast. The 76,000 tonne bulk ore carrier Pasha Bulker grounded on Newcastle Beach. 
  • Major flooding in Paterson, Williams and Hunter Rivers.
  • Beach erosion at many Sydney beaches caused by huge swells. Cremorne Wharf collapsed into Sydney Harbour due to large waves. The maximum wave height recorded at Sydney Waverider Buoy was 14.1m at 2am Saturday. This was the highest recorded since records began in 1992.
  • Flooding and high winds caused loss of power to over 200,000 homes  in Sydney-Newcastle area.
  • About 6cm of snow closed New England Highway in Murrurundi-Tamworth area and on the Northern Tablelands.

15 - 16

1010 hPa

Norah Head at 9:04am on the 16th.

128.4mm at Beaumont (Illawarra) to 9am on the 16th
  • This complex, but weaker, small scale low crossed the Central Coast about 9am on 16 June.
  • Highest rainfall totals recorded in the Illawarra district.
  • Heavy snow fell between Canberra and Braidwood closing Kings Highway. Up to 30cm snow in hills south of Bungendore, breaking large branches off trees.

19 - 20

982 hPa

Montague Is. at 12:11am on the 20th.

Wamberal (Central Coast) to 9am on the 19th.
  • At the peak, the low centre was over the Tasman Sea approximately 400km east of Nowra at 6am on 20 June.
  • Highest rainfall totals recorded on the Central Coast and Metropolitan areas.
  • Moderate snowfalls in Central Tablelands with up to 15cm near Lithgow.

26 - 27

990 Hpa

Green Cape at 12:06am on the 27th

Montague Is at 10:14pm on the 26th.

122mm at
Coffs Harbour to 9am on the 26th

86.6mm at Brogo
(South Coast) to 9am on the 27th

  • A complex low pressure system which moved from the Mid North Coast to the South Coast.One small scale low centre moved west and crossed the coast near Merimbula about 3am on 27 June.
  • Flooding in East Gippsland, Victoria.
  • Snowfalls on the Southern Tablelands closed Monaro Highway south of Canberra as well as several roads in the Monaro district. Up to 15cm snow was recorded.

28 - 29

988 hPa

Mt Hotham (Victoria) at 2:34am on 28th

Green Cape (South Coast) at 2:32pm on the 28th


74mm at Bondi Forest Lodge (South Coast) to 9am on the 28th

  • Related to Event 4, the second low centre over the Tasman Sea near Lord Howe Island moved southwest to the NSW South Coast and was most intense about 300 km east of Nowra at 6am on 29 June.
  • Further rainfall and flooding in East Gippsland. Rainfall totals over 300mm were recorded over the four days from 27-30 June and a number of stations set records for the highest June daily rainfall.   There was major flooding on several rivers with some flood peaks the highest on record.  For details see the June climate summary for Victoria

Weather Charts

These charts were nearest to time of minimum pressure for each low.

Event 1


Event 2


Event 3


Event 4:


Event 5



These graphs show the raw wind speed and maximum gust at selected coastal stations for June 2007. Note that some wind speed obervations may not be averaged over the full standard ten minute period.





Wave data provided by NSW Department of Commerce's Manly Hydraulics Laboratory on behalf of  NSW Department of Environment and Climate Change.



Total Rainfall for June 2007. Note that maps of daily and weekly rainfall totals in June are also available via the on-line archive.


Rainfall deciles for June 2007