Beaches, though, copped a bit of a hammering, particularly in northern NSW, as the cyclone spun across the Coral Sea. As of Monday afternoon, the storm was between Norfolk Island and New Caledonia, and rated a category 2-strength system.
The bureau issued a hazardous surf warning for northern parts of NSW. Ms Reid said the cyclone was “still a fairly intense system”, with the resulting swell likely to create difficult surf for the next couple of days along much of the NSW coast, including near Sydney.
Ben Domensino, a meteorologist with Weatherzone, said parts of southern Queensland had received waves reaching heights of 10 metres, while those in north-eastern NSW topped eight metres.
“It’s big surf, but we’ll start to see that starting to ease from [Monday],” he said. “We’ve probably seen the worst of it.”
The system was expected to generate damaging winds for Norfolk Island and “produce significant beach erosion” for local beaches, the bureau said.
Sydney’s wet weekend and start to this week had lifted rainfall so far this year to about 625 millimetres, making it the wettest start to any year since 1990, Mr Domensino said.
Last year’s total of 852 millimetres could be overhauled in the first half of 2020, he said.
While the recent rains have caused some local flooding, they are not unusual. March is typically the city’s second-wettest month of the year, and, with an average of 14 wet days, it has the most damp days of any month, Mr Domensino said.
“We shouldn’t be too surprised by a bit of rain,” he said.
While Sydney has been relatively wet, inland regions have largely missed out on the latest rain.
Sydney is one of the few pockets of the state where the drought has been eradicated by the rains,” Mr Domensino said, adding that the dry spell had not yet broken for much of NSW.
Peter Hannam writes on environment issues for The Sydney Morning Herald and The Age.