Illawarra residents warned to brace for wild winds this weekend

A fallen 20-metre tall gumtree rests on a car and rooftop in West Wollongong after wild winds in June. Picture: NSW SES Wollongong City Unit
A fallen 20-metre tall gumtree rests on a car and rooftop in West Wollongong after wild winds in June. Picture: NSW SES Wollongong City Unit

A total fire ban is in place for the Illawarra on Saturday as the Bureau of Meteorology warns of wild winds with peak gusts in excess of 90km/h. 

Across the state, a strong cold front is likely to deliver elevated fire dangers, warm temperatures, winds, thunderstorms and snow – all in one weekend.

Damaging winds, averaging 60 to 70 km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90 km/h, are possible in the Illawarra from mid-morning Saturday.

Conditions are expected to gradually ease on Saturday night.

The warning area includes the Wollongong, Shellharbour and Kiama areas, as well as Bowral, Nowra, Batemans Bay, Bega, Moruya Heads, Goulburn, Cooma, Bombala and Thredbo.

Meantime, very high to severe fire danger is forecast across parts of NSW on Saturday.

Eight areas will have total fire bans in place, including the Illlawarra, Shoalhaven and Far South Coast.

Temperatures are forecast to reach a top of 31 degrees in Bellambi and Albion Park.

Residents should report all fires without a fire truck in attendance to triple-zero.

On Sunday, strong and potentially damaging winds are expected to return to the region in the early morning as a major temperature drop will likely see maximums plummet to the low teens on Sunday.

The Bureau of Meteorology is monitoring the system, which it says will likely deliver a weekend of variable and potentially dangerous weather to NSW and the ACT.

Saturday will bring significantly above average temperatures for this time of year for sections of northern and eastern NSW. 

On Sunday, early snow is forecast in the southern ranges above 700 to 800 metres.

There is also a slight risk of a light flurry about the Central Tablelands in the early morning.

The Bureau of Meteorology is urging people to regularly monitor the conditions as the system moves through and is working closely with state and territory emergency services.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should: 

  • Move vehicles 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 on 131 388, or Endeavour Energy on 131 003 or Essential Energy on 132 080, as shown on your power bill. 
  • For emergency help in floods and storms, ring your local SES Unit on 132 500. 

The next severe weather warning will be issued by 5pm Friday.