It lasted little more than an hour. The rain hit the city hard and fast and left a trail of flash flooding, widespread blackouts and traffic havoc in its wake. But by 4pm yesterday, the sudden and intense thunderstorm that had born down on the suburbs had cleared almost as quickly as it had come.
Residents of Mayfield, Hamilton and Islington reported flash flooding as end-of-workday traffic waded through axle-deep water on Maitland Road and Tudor Street.
Traffic lights at Charlestown, and along Maitland Road, were out, causing heavy traffic, while the NSW Transport Management Centre tracked a steady string of commuter chaos caused by flooded roads at Cardiff, Waratah Jesmond and Mayfield West. Wallsend was hit by an intense hailstorm.
Classes at the University of Newcastle's Callaghan and city campuses were cancelled. Students were advised not to travel to classes around 6.25pm.
Josh McDonald, a chef at the Greenroof Hotel told the Newcastle Herald water had made it inside the pub but the damage was minor and the kitchen remained open.
State Emergency Services crews from Newcastle City, Maitland City and Singleton had 56 call-outs to help repair damaged and leaking roofs, deliver sandbags to affected homes and businesses, and clear downed trees and branches.
Blackouts in the suburbs, and around the Hunter, left thousands in the dark as Ausgrid crews worked to restore power to around 14,600 homes and businesses at Newcastle and Lake Macquarie around 4.30pm.
Around 74 millimetres thrashed rain gauges in a localised downpour at Macquarie College between 3pm and 4pm. Around 66 millimetres fell at Lookout Road resevoir at the same time, thinning out to around 24 millimetres at Barnsley.
By 4.30pm, the dramatic downpour and rolling thunder had started to ease. Forecasters with the Bureau of Meteorology noted a chance of further storms but said the worst had passed with scarce further rain for the remainder of the week.
The storm preceded predictions for an intense southerly change moving along the coastal fringe south of the Hunter yesterday afternoon.
Forecasters warned a gusty and intense southerly buster would tear along the NSW east coast during the afternoon, the most intense winds of which were expected to hit the Central Coast around 9pm, before easing as they moved north, bringing lower temperatures to relieve warm sunny days in Newcastle and the Hunter earlier in the week.
The bureau said the blistering southerly change was expected to bring gusts up to 90 kilometres per hour at its strongest, caused by a distorted cold front moving across the southern parts of the state - where cold air typically becomes trapped against the southern ends of the Great Diving Range as the front over the ocean continues north skirting the coast.
A severe weather warning for residents on the coast between Kiama and Morisset was issued around 11am yesterday for potentially damaging winds averaging between 55 and 56 kilometres per hour.
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