THE BUREAU of Meteorology (BOM) has issued a warning for "damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall" in the Mid North Coast and Hunter Region.
The warning was issued on 5pm Saturday and also applies to the Illawarra and parts of Northern Rivers, Metropolitan, Central Tablelands, North West Slopes and Plains, Central West Slopes and Plains and Northern Tablelands Forecast Districts.
"Strong to severe thunderstorms are continuing to develop over central parts of the state, inland parts of the mid-north coast and the Illawarra," the BOM warning stated.
"A surface trough lies over the central inland of NSW, with a moist and unstable airmass to its east. Winds in the upper atmosphere will increase through the afternoon as an upper trough approaches the area, leading to increasing chances of severe thunderstorms later today.
"Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds, large hailstones and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours. Locations which may be affected include Wollongong, Nowra, Bowral, Armidale, Mudgee and Dubbo."
The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
- Move your car under cover or away from trees.
- Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
- Keep at least 8 metres away from fallen power lines or objects that may be energised, such as fences.
- Report fallen power lines to either Ausgrid (131 388), Endeavour Energy (131 003), Essential Energy (132 080) or Evoenergy (131 093) as shown on your power bill.
- Trees that have been damaged by fire are likely to be more unstable and more likely to fall.
- Keep clear of creeks and storm drains.
- Don't walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water.
- If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue.
- Be aware that run-off from rainfall in fire affected areas may behave differently and be more rapid. It may also contain debris such as ash, soil, trees and rocks.
- After bushfires, heavy rain and the loss of foliage can make the ground soft and heavy, leading to a greater chance of landslides.
- Unplug computers and appliances.
- Avoid using the phone during the storm.
- Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.
- Stay vigilant and monitor conditions. Note that the landscape may have changed following bushfires.
- For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.
"If severe thunderstorms develop in Sydney Newcastle Wollongong or surrounding areas, a more detailed Severe Thunderstorm Warning will be issued to people in this area," the BOM warning read.
"Warnings are also available through TV and Radio broadcasts, the Bureau's website at www.bom.gov.au or call 1300 659 210."
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