Wild winds throughout the Hunter and Lake Macquarie brought a day of rough surf off the coast and tough conditions for firefighters who battled a blaze that caused the on-and-off closure of a major road for several hours on Thursday.
The Bureau of Meteorology recorded winds faster than 50km/h at the Nobbys Beach weather station at several stages through the afternoon, with gusts more than 60km/h - reaching 70km/h at 3.30pm.
The wind swung to the south-west and south from about noon, with the bureau's data showing the apparent - or "feels like" - temperature dropping to 4.3 degrees mid afternoon.
The bureau also warned that "large and powerful surf conditions" were expected to continue into Thursday evening, creating hazardous conditions on the water - though surfers were making the most of the situation, catching waves inside the Newcastle Harbour in the late afternoon.
It came after the windy conditions caused problems with a fire around the M1 Pacific Motorway at Killingworth earlier in the day.
Rural Fire Service teams worked throughout the morning, with all north and south-bound lanes closed at various times. North-bound traffic was queued for about 5km at 7.30am.
The status of the fire was ramped up to Watch and Act just after 10am, as the RFS encouraged nearby residents to activate their Bushfire Survival Plans.
RFS crews had the blaze in control and wound back its classification of the fire to Advice level at about 2pm, before the motorway was fully re-opened about 30 minutes later.
Firefighters remained at the scene keeping an eye on the burn throughout the afternoon, as two water bombing helicopters continued to douse hot-spots.
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