‘Gusty’ Christmas Eve to pull temperatures down as storms subside

A severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of NSW as a scorching day in Sydney winds down and Christmas Eve celebrations ramp up.

The Bureau of Meteorology warned people in parts of the mid-north coast, Hunter, northern rivers and northern tablelands districts to be wary of possible damaging winds and large hailstones on Sunday evening. Earlier warnings for the metropolitan and central tablelands districts have been cancelled.

Sunday boasts a trademark day of chaotic Sydney weather, as sweltering temperatures give way to a potentially stormy afternoon followed by a “gusty” evening.

Temperatures peaked at 34 degrees in the city and around 41 degrees in the west but had begun to drop by about 1pm.

Senior forecaster at the Bureau of Meteorology, Jake Phillips, said parts of the city had dropped to 32 degrees in the early afternoon, while most of western Sydney remained stubbornly warm.

“Coastal parts of Sydney are significantly cooler than the western suburbs, probably by about 10 degrees or more,” Mr Phillips said.

A southerly change will usher in a more substantial drop in temperatures later in the day, offering some relief to those Sydneysiders gearing up for festive evening.

“We are expecting a pretty significant southerly change to come through at about 5pm to 7pm,” he said.

“That change will be quite gusty as it comes through.”

Afternoon storms should be “hit and miss” across Sydney, Mr Phillips said, with some parts seeing a storm while others “miss out entirely”.

The chance of thunderstorms in the evening will drop off as that southerly change sweeps through, leaving a clear but windy night for most of Sydney.

“I’d be surprised if we saw anything past early evening, that southerly change will cool everything off,” Mr Phillips said.

“After that the atmosphere will be a lot cooler and that generally means the chance of storms is lower.”

State Emergency Services are encouraging people in the warning areas to take preventative measures to stay safe, including parking their cars under cover or away from trees, securing loose items and staying away from fallen power lines.

A full list of recommended measures and updated weather warnings are available on the Bureau of Meteorology website.

Winds will continue into the evening and then Christmas Day, staying “particularly gusty” around the eastern suburbs on Sunday night, Mr Phillips said.

“They’ll gradually ease off tomorrow, and by tomorrow afternoon shouldn’t be particularly strong,” he said of Monday’s forecast, which expects a top of 23 degrees in the city and 26 in the west.