Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

The images provided in this post were taken around Auburn / Lidcombe and Berala on the afternoon of December 20 2018 during a prolific thunderstorm event that saw a number of significant storms impact areas of Sydney.

A number of these storms were supercells and two of these storms impacted Auburn within a space of 2 hours.

After I had finished work at around 4.30 pm, a thunderstorm passed over Auburn that produced small hail. Following the passage of this storm, a more significant cell was observed to track NE and had the characteristics of a classic supercell. This cell also passed over Auburn although the hail core passed just to the east of my location. My wife and I stood on the Auburn car park roof to watch this event and we could hear the distant roar of hail fall to our east. As it was, sporadic hail fell where we were.

Following its passage, I drove to Lidcombe to a park where my wife and I were able to document hail 2 to 3 cm in size that had fallen within that area.

I was surprised to see another storm cell form to the south and a much more significant storm forming to the west. The storm cell to the west was moving at speed towards us so I decided to drive down to Berala to ensure that it passed over us.

After parking the car, we had plenty of time to watch what it did. The core passed overhead where we were in Woodburn Road. Berala was hit hard which included two separate hail bursts and my wife and I were documenting hail up to 4 cm in size. Occasionally we heard the noise of large hailstones hitting the roofs of buildings which could suggest larger hailstones falling although sporadically. The largest hailstones that my wife and I could verify were around 4 cm in size. It was too dangerous to be walking the streets due to the amount of cloud to ground lightning that was occurring.

As it was, the storm produced local flooding around Auburn and Berala.

The storms that swept Sydney and other locales during this afternoon were the costliest thunderstorm event since April 14 1999. A review of the Insurance Council of Australia webpage has revealed that the damage from this storm event (Several storms included) tallied $1,038,704,566 as at February 14 2019 with significant losses occurring around Casuala, Oran Park, Liverpool, Mona Vale, Berowra and Gosford. Of the 3,600 calls for help, 1,100 were from the Liverpool area. There were 118,886 insurance claims including 26,322 household claims and 78,221 motor vehicle claims.

This storm event easily surpassed the December 9 2007 event partly due to the number of storm cells that occurred and area affected and of course, it impacted Sydney during the late afternoon peak hour period.