Sydney is set for another cold and wet day on Friday with an east coast low expected to form offshore and bring damaging winds and rain during the morning.
Friday’s maximum in the city is forecast to reach just 13 degrees, roughly in line with Thursday’s top of 13.4 degrees, according to the Bureau of Meteorology. If realised, that would make it Sydney’s coldest two days in a row since June 1995, said David Barlow, an information officer with the bureau.
The bureau has issued an updated severe weather warning on Friday morning for damaging winds and surf generated by “a trough linked to the deepening low off the Illawarra coast” for the metropolitan, Hunter and Illawarra districts.
A woman takes cover during rainy weather on Thursday in Sydney. Photo: Daniel Munoz
Sustained winds will reach about 70km/h with peak gusts on Friday of 90km/h for coastal areas from Illawarra to the Central Coast, the bureau said.
“It will be within a few kilometres of the coast where the strongest winds will be,” Mr Barlow said.
The wild weather should reach Sydney around sunrise and although there will be some rain, “the main focus will be on the wind”, he said. “With that wind, it won’t be a very nice day.”
Wind rather than rain may be the main concern on Friday. Photo: Daniel Munoz
Sydney had collected about 12 millimetres of rain by late on Thursday and can expect 10-25 millimetres more on Friday, the bureau said.
Surf conditions will also be “very heavy”, which may lead to localised damage and coastal erosion. “Beach conditions in these areas could be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf-exposed areas,” the bureau said.
Also known as “east coast cyclones”, the low pressure systems are formed by upper level cold air combining with moist unstable air offshore, creating a deep low-pressure system. Rainfall totals and wind impacts depend on how long they linger near the coast.
A Sydney commuter endures Thursday’s rain. Photo: Daniel Munoz
Rob Sharpe, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said Friday’s east coast low is likely to be “brief and intense”.
“We will experience an east coast low but it’s not going to be a particularly powerful one and it’s not going to be a long-lasting one,” Mr Sharpe said.
It is unlikely, for instance, to be in the same league as the east coast low that dumped about 225mm of rain on Sydney and caused flooding in the Hunter Valley on April 21-22.
Mr Sharpe said the worst of the rain and winds should be over by Friday afternoon, with showers easing.
Conditions will be relatively settled over the weekend with more showers on Saturday.
Although many will be looking forward to the arrival of summer – just 137 days until December 1 – there will be some relatively mild conditions arriving next week as a high-pressure system dominates for a while.
On current forecasts, Sydney can expect tops of 19 degrees from Tuesday to Thursday with mostly sunny conditions – before the arrival of another cold front.
Unlike the present front that is bringing 10 centimetres or more of snow to the Alpine peaks, the next one will not be as cold by the time it reaches eastern Australia. It will deliver more rain that will be welcomed by farmers if not by the ski resorts.
“It’d be hitting the slopes this weekend until Tuesday when the rain might come in and ruin things,” Mr Sharpe said.