NSW residents are being told to brace for intense rain and wind as severe thunderstorms are set to batter the state.
The thunderstorms are expected to produce intense rainfall throughout the afternoon that could lead to dangerous and life-threatening flooding across Sydney, Wollongong and all the way down the south coast to Huskisson.
The intense weather system is also expected to hit inland NSW, with flooding and heavy rainfall predicted to smash Orange, Bathurst, Yass, Blayney and Trunkey Creek.
“An approaching upper trough is combining with an unstable environment to trigger severe thunderstorms across NSW,” the Bureau of Meteorology warning said.
The NSW SES is urging residents to keep clear of creeks and storm drains and to avoid riding a bike or driving through floodwater.
Bexley Rd at Bexley North in Sydney’s south became flooded shortly after 1pm on Thursday, with the SES telling people to avoid the area.
It comes after wild rain hit parts of Sydney overnight on Wednesday, with the SES called to eight flood rescues across the city.
People had to be rescued after they were trapped in their cars in Alexandra, Kogarah, Carlton, Banksia and Earlwood.
Further south, an aged care home in the Shoalhaven had to be evacuated about 1.45am on Thursday after the centre flooded due to roof leakages.
Meanwhile, Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle is intensifying off the coast of Queensland into a dangerous category 3 storm.
The system has been sitting about 800km off the coast of Cairns but is expected to produce strong winds and swells for northern Queensland later in the week.
The tropical low formed into a cyclone on Wednesday, prompting emergency services on Norfolk Island to activate their cyclone response plan.
It is currently rated a category 1 cyclone but is predicted to further strengthen throughout Thursday as it moves in a south to southwesterly direction towards northern Queensland.
The bureau predicts it will continue moving south before swinging east.
Before it moves away, the cyclone is forecast to remain offshore but bring large waves and strong winds to exposed coastal areas.
Some areas may experience “very destructive” winds of up to 159km/h.
The bureau declared Tropical Cyclone Gabrielle formed in the Coral Sea, about 690km northeast of Mackay, on Wednesday afternoon.
”Gabrielle is forecast to continue to track to the south during the rest of Wednesday and then southeast from Thursday, remaining well offshore of the Queensland east coast,” the bureau reported.
On Saturday, Gabrielle is likely to approach Norfolk Island and is forecast to pass Norfolk Island on Sunday.
The island could face sustained wind speeds of 89-117km/h and typical gusts over open flat land or seas of 125-164km/h.
“It promises to be a nervous few days for the 2200 residents of Norfolk Island, as a dangerous tropical storm develops in the Coral Sea and tracks southward,” Weatherzone meteorologist Anthony Sharwood said.
Carnival cruise ship Luminosa was forced to change direction on Wednesday following the cyclone‘s development.
The cruise ship was expected to reach Lifou, New Caledonia, on Wednesday but was instead forced to head to Brisbane.
In a letter to guests, Carnival Luminosa captain Carmelo Marino said the ship had to change course to remain at a safe distance from the tropical cyclone.
The wild weather is set to ease into the weekend, with heatwave conditions predicted across northeast NSW and South East Queensland.
Story Credit: news.com.au