Cyclone threat amid weather chao

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As Australia’s southeast continues to be battered by damaging winds and snow, the north is bracing for the looming threat of a tropical cyclone.

Thousands of residents across NSW, Victoria and South Australia have been left without power as severe wind gusts of up to 130km/h toppled power lines and battered homes.

The State Emergency Service has responded to thousands of calls for assistance overnight as people battled winds, flooding, snow, and even a heatwave.

Severe weather is predicted for much of Australia this week. Picture: Bureau of MeteorologySevere weather is predicted for much of Australia this week. Picture: Bureau of Meteorology

Sky News Weather meteorologist Rob Sharpe said the chaotic weather could be blamed on a strong polar vortex that would continue to sweep the country on Tuesday.

Temperatures have been three to five degrees cooler this month thanks to the cold front, which was caused by the volcanic eruption in Tonga earlier this year.

Temperatures are expected to rise later in the week when a brewing weather system is forecast to bring severe thunderstorms ahead of a possible tropical cyclone next week.

NSW

The NSW SES has responded to more than 900 requests for assistance in the 24 hours to Tuesday morning, most of which were related to storm damage.

The combination of severe winds and saturated soil toppled hundreds of trees on roads, power lines and homes overnight. Hundreds of homes are still without power on Tuesday morning after the severe weather.

Damaging winds caused carnage, toppling trees and power lines across southeastern Australia on Monday and Tuesday. Picture: Nicki ConnollyDamaging winds caused carnage, toppling trees and power lines across southeastern Australia on Monday and Tuesday. Picture: Nicki Connolly

There were 420 requests for SES assistance in Sydney alone as wind gusts of up to 85km/h battered the city. A severe weather warning remains in place on Tuesday, although the area of concern has narrowed to the alpine area of NSW where more snowfall is predicted.

The SES has received three requests for flood rescues overnight, as Central West NSW continues to battle rising water levels.

“Out west, we’re still seeing some major flooding occur. It’s still of major concern,” a spokesperson said.

Inland flooding in western NSW could continue for months, the SES spokesperson warned.

Western NSW communities such as Walgett and Lightning Ridge are still cut off from the rest of the state by floodwaters.

The SES is continuing to charter flights to resupply the communities with food and medical supplies as the towns wait for the water levels to drop.

Western NSW has been devastated by ongoing flooding that has left communities isolated. Picture: Dean MarzollaWestern NSW has been devastated by ongoing flooding that has left communities isolated. Picture: Dean Marzolla

“(There are) quite significant events occurring all across NSW at the moment,” the SES spokesperson acknowledged.

There are 100 warnings from emergency services in force across NSW and 16 issued from the Bureau of Meteorology.

Despite the wild weather, Sydney is forecast to reach a sunny 24C on Tuesday.

Victoria

Mr Sharpe said Victoria had shivered through three instances of “exceptional cold” in November, an “extreme” weather occurrence not seen for more than 57 years.

The “remarkable” and unseasonable cold snap dropped temperatures to 13C on Monday, 8C below average.

A tree fell on a car near the corner of Inkerman and Hotham streets in Melbourne. Picture: Nicki ConnollyA tree fell on a car near the corner of Inkerman and Hotham streets in Melbourne. Picture: Nicki Connolly

More than 2400 homes are still without power on Tuesday morning after severe winds damaged power lines and homes across the state.

The SES responded to more than 954 requests for assistance overnight and more than 810 of those were due to trees downed by the damaging gusts. The emergency service reported that 48 buildings were damaged by the winds.

Fortunately for Victorians, the severe weather warning for the state was cancelled on Tuesday morning. However, Mr Sharpe said parts of Gippsland should remain on high alert, as strong winds aren’t expected to abate until Tuesday evening.

High winds are forecast to continue in Victoria on Tuesday. Picture: Vic SESHigh winds are forecast to continue in Victoria on Tuesday. Picture: Vic SES

Alpine areas of the state are forecast to receive snow on Tuesday as the chilly conditions continue.

The weather bureau has issued 22 warnings for Victoria that relate to continued flood risks. Melbourne is forecast to remain chilly with a maximum temperature of 17C.

Tasmania

While the wild weather eases across much of the country, the Sky News Weather meteorologist warned that the wind and rain was moving from the mainland to Tasmania on Tuesday.

Damaging winds are expected through the middle of the state, striking to the west and south of Hobart.

There are severe weather warnings for much of Tasmania. Picture: Sky News AustraliaThere are severe weather warnings for much of Tasmania. Picture: Sky News Australia

A drenching is also forecast for Tasmania that will add more rainfall to the already sodden soil. There are nine flood and severe weather warnings in place across the state.

Temperatures will plummet to a maximum of 16C in Hobart on Tuesday, although they’re expected to rise throughout the week.

South Australia

Residents have had some reprieve from the wild weather after a chaotic weekend caused 13,000 homes to lose power.

On Tuesday, nearly 400 homes were still without power across the state.

The SA SES reported only three requests for assistance overnight, and the state has only one warning in place from the bureau.

The weather is forecast to warm throughout the week, but the temperature in Adelaide will only reach a top of 18C on Tuesday.

Queensland and the Northern Territory

While the southern states battle flooding and frigid temperatures, Queenslanders are sweltering through a heatwave.

Northern areas of the state are forecast to suffer through temperatures in the mid 30s to early 40s for much of the week.

Areas of Queensland and the Northern Territory are expected to be hit by a severe heatwave for days. Picture: BOMAreas of Queensland and the Northern Territory are expected to be hit by a severe heatwave for days. Picture: BOM

The warning extends from the Peninsula, North Tropical Coast and Tablelands and Central Coast to the Whitsundays districts. Areas near Darwin in the Northern Territory are also likely to be affected.

Severe thunderstorms are expected to drench Queensland and the NT and linger into next week as another system brews over the north.

“Next week could be a big one for Queensland and the NT top end,” Mr Sharpe said.

“There is a chance of a tropical cyclone. Even if there isn’t a tropical cyclone, we’re expecting a lot of rainfall.”

The meteorologist predicts up to 100mm of rainfall across much of northern Australia, extending into northern areas of Western Australia.

Severe thunderstorms and heavy rainfall are predicted for much of northern Australia next week. Picture: Sky News AustraliaSevere thunderstorms and heavy rainfall are predicted for much of northern Australia next week. Picture: Sky News Australia

There are already five emergency warnings in place across Queensland, four of which pertain to flooding. Townsville will experience a maximum of 35C on Tuesday, while Brisbane will have a top of 29C.

No warnings are current in the NT where the temperature is expected to hit a warm 34C on Tuesday.

Western Australia

As rain continues to plague the east, the west is bracing for extreme fire danger.

The Inland Central West, Midwest Coast and Mortlock areas are all being urged to prepare for hot and dry conditions perfect for fire danger.

The bureau predicts strong winds will move across the areas, increasing the risk of bushfires. Isolated thunderstorm activity is forecast across the state by Tuesday afternoon.

Two warnings from the bureau are current in WA where warm conditions are predicted to continue.

Perth is predicted to reach a top of 34C on Tuesday, while Broome stays slightly cooler at 31C.

Read related topics:Weather

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