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Weather bureau issues warning for Sydney drivers amid gusty winds, rain, snow

Sydney Morning Herald logo Sydney Morning Herald 4/06/2019 Jenny Noyes

Video provided by NIne News

The Bureau of Meteorology is warning Sydneysiders to take care as wild weather hits the city and surrounds, with massive swell prompting some ferry services to be cancelled on Sydney Harbour.

Sydney Ferries cancelled their services between Manly and Circular Quay shortly after 11am on Tuesday due to the large swell, and buses are now running replacement services.

Footage shot on board one of the ferries before they were cancelled shows massive waves pounding the outdoor deck.

a snow covered road: Snow blankets Katoomba train station on Tuesday morning. © Sydney Trains Snow blankets Katoomba train station on Tuesday morning. One Manly ferry rider described the ride as "big waves and big fun" as water is seen smashing onto the ferry windows – which fortunately withstood the force.

a close up of a map: Sydney will receive a dumping of rain on Tuesday not seen since March. © BOM Sydney will receive a dumping of rain on Tuesday not seen since March. In the Blue Mountains, residents who woke to a dumping of snow were advised to exercise extreme caution on icy roads.

A bureau road weather alert issued on Tuesday warns "gusty winds will make driving conditions dangerous during Tuesday in [Sydney's] eastern suburbs". Heavy rain has also caused roads across the city to become inundated.

At 7am, Live Traffic tweeted that Blue Mountains drivers should simply avoid travelling to Sydney due to the treacherous conditions, with the Great Western Highway closed at Katoomba and Mount Victoria due to ice and snow.

a boat in the water: Morning commuter traffic negotiate the flooded Grand Parade at Brighton Le Sands. © AAP Morning commuter traffic negotiate the flooded Grand Parade at Brighton Le Sands. It has since reopened, but drivers are still warned to exercise extreme caution, slow down and drive to the conditions.

Ambulances responded to two separate single-car crashes on the Great Western Highway, with one car hitting a pole and another hitting a concrete barrier. It's not believed the drivers sustained serious injuries and the highway remains open.

Trains are running between Sydney and the Blue Mountains, but there are significant delays with snow blanketing stations and tracks.

a group of people walking in the snow: Snow falls at Blackheath oval in the Blue Mountains. © Wolter Peeters Snow falls at Blackheath oval in the Blue Mountains. Parts of the Southern Tablelands also received unexpected snow as a storm hit the region overnight.

Several centimetres of snow fell across the Goulburn area, catching many residents off guard as they woke up on Tuesday morning.

In an updated severe weather warning spanning 1000km of NSW coastline, the bureau on Tuesday said "an intense Tasman low and associated cold front will produce a strong and gusty winds along parts of the coast today.

"These winds will whip up heavy surf conditions, making coastal activities dangerous, and bringing the potential for coastal erosion."

The warning is for damaging, locally destructive wind and damaging surf.

Damaging winds averaging 60 to 70 km/h with peak gusts in excess of 90 km/h hit the the NSW south coast early in the morning, extending north to Sydney around sunrise and are expected to reach the rest of the warning area in the early afternoon.

a car parked on the side of a snow covered road: Snow falls in the Blue Mountains at Blackheath. © Wolter Peeters Snow falls in the Blue Mountains at Blackheath. A gust of 130km/h was recorded at Ulladulla earlier this morning, the bureau tweeted.

Between 20 and 40 millimetres of rain is also expected to fall in the city on Tuesday – the likes of which have not been seen in Sydney since March.

NSW Police are warning drivers to take care on the roads this morning and in coming days as the rain continues.

Traffic and Highway Patrol Assistant Commissioner Michael Corboy said as it hadn't rained for some time, "the roads will be covered in grime which will become slippery to drivers as well as bicyclists and pedestrians.

"Visibility is important – that means headlights on and if you are on foot or a bike of any kind – this is the week for your brightest coat and/or umbrella."

Assistant Commissioner Corboy stressed it was important to allow for more travel time during wet weather as traffic would be moving slower and normal routes could have changed unexpectedly.

"Wet days are recipe for rear-end collisions as people don’t leave enough room between their vehicle and the one in front," he said.

Search cancelled for 'missing' surfer at Illawarra beach

A helicopter deployed to search for a surfer thought to be missing at Warilla Beach, Barrack Point, has been called off, with emergency services satisfied a report received from a witness on the beach was a false alarm.

Waves between five and eight metres are currently battering much of the coast south of Sydney and people are being warned to avoid entering the water.

"Keep a safe distance away from exposed beaches and to stay off rock shelves due to hazardous swell and waves conditions," said Surf Lifesaving Illawarra's Anthony Turner told the Illawarra Mercury.

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