The deluge caused some motorists to become stranded in flash flooding on Saturday morning, with four flood rescues performed by SES volunteers in the areas of Albion Park, Ulladulla and Dapto.
Hail the size of 50-cent pieces fell on Saturday afternoon at Bonville, near Coffs Harbour on the Mid North Coast, with hail the size of 10-cent pieces recorded slightly north-west at Lowanna.
SES spokeswoman Stephanie Heard said early on Saturday afternoon that the agency had received 278 calls for help across the state, the majority from the South Coast, Campbelltown and Macquarie Fields areas, with flash flooding also reported in the Sutherland Shire.
Ms Heard said it’s expected to be a stormy afternoon and the SES is urging motorists to take it easy on the roads and avoid any flooding.
“Don’t attempt to go into it,” she said.
In a severe thunderstorm warning at 3.04pm, the Bureau said thunderstorms are likely to produce “giant hailstones”, heavy rainfall and possible flash flooding in the Northern Rivers and Northern Tablelands, in locations including Lismore, Grafton, Yamba and Maclean.
The storms may lead to flash flooding and “large hailstones” in other parts of the state, including Newcastle, Gosford, Sydney, Wollongong, Orange, Tamworth and Dubbo.
Heavy rain hit Prestons in south-west Sydney before midday, leading to the closure of a drive-through COVID-19 testing clinic. Also in the city’s south-west, roof damage was reported to Glenquarie Shopping Centre at Macquarie Fields.
Posts on social media show large amounts of hail falling in parts of Sydney, blanketing backyards and looking more like snow.
By 5.01pm the Bureau said severe thunderstorms in wider Sydney “have temporarily eased”, but further severe storms could develop and the situation is being closely monitored.
Severe storms have also hit Queensland, with 13-centimetre hail recorded at Hillcrest south of Brisbane. The Bureau of Meteorology warned the Queensland storms are “a significant threat to property and life”.