Wollongong waves goodbye to wild winds

Wollongong emergency services personnel spent the weekend cleaning up after the city’s windiest day in 10 months left a trail of destruction in its wake on Friday.

The wild winds – which saw gusts as high as 106km/h recorded at Port Kembla and Nowra – settled as the weekend progressed; replaced by dangerous surf and waves of more than five metres.

A severe weather alert for damaging seas and coastal erosion was in place across the weekend, coupled with a hazardous surf warning.

A significant wave height of 5.5 metres was recorded by the Port Kembla wave buoy at 3am on Sunday. 

Wave data from Port Kembla. Source: Manly Hydraulics Laboratory

Wave data from Port Kembla. Source: Manly Hydraulics Laboratory

The rough seas and heavy southerly swell were due to a complex low pressure system near New Zealand and a high over southeastern Australia generating vigorous winds over the Tasman Sea.

On Sunday, Illawarra and South Coast SES teams were still working through a handful of the 244 calls for help received since the wild weather began on Thursday night.

“Because of the number of requests for assistance that came in very quickly, we managed to bring in some out of area crews to assist the local teams,” NSW SES Illawarra and South Coast Region deputy controller Alex McFadden said.

SES and emergency services crews from across the Illawarra and South Coast worked hard over the weekend to clean up after the wild winds.

SES and emergency services crews from across the Illawarra and South Coast worked hard over the weekend to clean up after the wild winds.

Wollongong crews were helped by teams from the Wingecarribee, St Georges Basin, Nowra, Kiama and Shellharbour units.

Ms McFadden said the remaining tasks were significant tree jobs that required a protracted clean-up.

SES volunteers also worked in continued gusty conditions on Saturday to secure a piece of roof blown on top of an apartment building in Corrimal the previous day.