Southerly buster rocks Sydney through the graveyard shift

Felix Levesque, 11 January 2020

Awoken suddenly near 1:30am in Sydney with rattling windows and flying outdoor furniture?


A gusty southerly buster is to blame for bringing 100km/h+ wind gusts in the early hours this morning. Following a very hot day and evening on Friday, significant cooling would not arrive in the metropole till after 1am the next morning.


The strong southerly wind change ended up reaching Kiama at about 12:08am, with winds shifting from hot northerlies, to gusty strong southerlies. At 1am the wind attained a sustained speed of 76km/h gusting at 113m/h. Temperatures would also drop from 25 to 22 degrees in less than 30 minutes. 


Further north, at 1:12am the wind change would hit the far southern outskirts of Sydney at Wattamolla, in the Royal National Park. At 2am, sustained winds of 96km/h, gusting at 111km/h were recorded. 


The change reached Sydney Airport at about 1:30am, the city at about 1:45am and further west at about 2-2:30am. At 3:04am, a wind gust of 102km/h was recorded at Sydney airport.


While the gusty winds were very noticeable, this event also brought about a much needed drop in temperature across the city. At 1:30am in Bankstown, temperatures were still at a balmy 28 degrees Celsius, by 2:00am the mercury stood at 24 degrees.


The southerly change followed a trough and a cold front which had been sweeping across the country over the last few days. This frontal system was accompanied by a broad cloudband which brought moisture from tropical activity across the north, into the south of the country. While some places in South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania reaped bountyful rainfall, only the odd light shower made it to New South Wales last night.