Sydney Southern Region
Sydney Southern Region

Sydney Southern Region is bounded by Sydney Harbour and includes Wallacia in the north, to the south it includes Heathcote and Tahmoor.  It is bounded by the Tasman Sea and includes the eastern suburbs of Sydney, Cronulla and the Royal National Park in the east, and extends west to include Wollondilly and Camden.

Events and Activities

Visit these events to meet your local NSW SES members and learn about Flood, Storm and Tsunami Safety.

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Historically Significant Storms

The Sydney Severe Thunderstorm of November 3, 1986
A severe thunderstorm caused damage in the south and western suburbs of Sydney. Hailstones up to six centimetres in diameter and 93km/h winds were reported. There was extensive damage, mostly to cars and windows. Twelve people were taken to hospital with head injuries. The worst affected suburbs were: Revesby, Bankstown, Punchbowl, Rockdale and Hurstville.

The Eastern and Southern Sydney Hailstorm of April 14, 1999
This storm was a very intense and unusually long-lived supercell thunderstorm. It
formed at about 4.25pm near Berry and tracked through the Kiama, Albion Park and Shellharbour areas where it deposited hail in large quantities. It then moved offshore before crossing the coast again near Helensburgh at about 7.00pm. Thereafter it headed north across the Sutherland Shire, Botany Bay (including Kingsford Smith airport) and the eastern suburbs of Sydney.

The main areas of damage were the Lilli Pilli and Caringbah areas of the Sutherland Shire and St Peters, Erskineville, Botany, Eastlakes, Rosebery, Kensington, Redfern, Randwick, Darlinghurst and Paddington. These areas were struck between 7.30 and 8.15pm. The storm then crossed the harbour, doing further damage in the northern beachside suburbs before moving out to sea in the vicinity of Gosford at 9.45pm. Some damage occurred as far north as Wyong.

This was principally a hail event though wind gusts of up to about 80 km/h were recorded. Individual hailstones of at least 9cm diameter (soft-ball sized) were confirmed as having fallen.

In the first two days after the storm, some 10,000 calls for assistance were received but the number had escalated to 25,000 after three weeks. Other damage, not reported by residents and owners of damaged non-residential buildings, was picked up by emergency service crews by doorknocks which contacted more than 100,000 dwellings.

More than 20,000 buildings were damaged, most of them suffering holed or cracked roofing tiles. Slate and fibro cement roofs also fared badly, unlike corrugated iron roofing materials. Many ceilings were also damaged, and household effects and furnishings were waterlogged as a result. Some 44,000 cars were damaged along with 3000 commercial and industrial premises and various facilities and aeroplanes at the airport. Public facilities damaged included 60 schools and the offices of South Sydney Council.

The areas of most concentrated damage were Rosebery and Kensington where there were whole streets in which every house suffered severe roof damage. Many of the inner-city buildings affected were multi-storey structures.

The biggest storm damage operation ever conducted in Sydney was undertaken. During the four weeks after the storm there were at times more than 3000 emergency workers deployed from the NSW SES, Fire and Rescue NSW, the Rural Fire Service, the Army, the Volunteer Rescue Association and the National Parks and Wildlife Service. SES crews from Victoria, Queensland, South Australia and the ACT joined the response.

A major problem was caused as a result of strong winds and heavy rain in three separate weather events in the month after the storm. Winds measured at up to 110 km/h ripped off many of the tarpaulins which had been placed over damaged roofs. Emergency crews had to return to some houses on several occasions to replace and re-tie tarpaulins.

The scale of the repair task was massive and the permanent repairing of roofs took months to complete. The total insurance payout, a year after the storm, was estimated at $1.7 billion, the highest ever for a natural disaster in Australian history. The total economic damage was of the order of $2.2 billion.