Gale force winds forecast to smash the Hunter earlier today are now predicted to hit between 11pm and 2am.
Weatherwatch meteorologist Anthony Cornelius said winds reaching up to 100 km/h were moving down from the north slower than expected.
‘‘The system slowed down a bit but the stronger wind gusts are expected to hit coastal areas overnight,’’ he said.
State Emergency Service crew remain on standby in preparation for the potentially dangerous conditions.
The Bureau of Meteorology released a severe weather warning at 5pm for the Hunter, predicting destructive winds, heavy rain, abnormally high tides and damaging surf.
4.22pm: All lanes on Bridges Road now open.
3.45pm: Bershire Avenue, Merewether situation in hand.
3.25pm: SES crews at Bershire Avenue, Merewether following reports of rising floodwater.
2.51pm: One of two northbound lanes is now closed on Bridges Road between Russell Road and Penman Street. One of three eastbound lanes is closed on Griffiths Road at Broadmeadow Road. Northbound traffic on Industrial Drive at Mayfield is also affected by water on road
1.20pm: Authorities are reporting that flash flooding is now affecting areas near Newcastle. Police are at Bridges Road at New Lambton, where areas are being affected by flooding. The road was still open at 1pm. Griffiths Road at Lambton, where eastbound traffic is being affected, also remained open.
Williamtown Airport affected by weather
The adverse weather conditions have also affected flights at Newcastle’s Williamtown Airport.
One flight to Ballina, due to depart at 2.15pm, has been cancelled while numerous trips to and from Brisbane and Melbourne are delayed.
Some flights are experiencing delays of more than 2 hours.
Visit www.newcastleairport.com.au for further information.
Wild weather headed our way
LESS than 10 days ago the Hunter was sweltering through its hottest day on record and a firestorm was sweeping Aberdare and Kearsley.
Now, we are being told to brace for 100km/h wind gusts, heavy rain, flooding and dangerous seas as Cyclone Oswald moves south.
In Queensland, at least four people are feared dead and floods are sweeping cities including Gladstone and Bundaberg.
State-wide warnings urge wild weather precautions
By STEPHEN RYAN
THE Hunter can expect 100km/h wind gusts, flooding and dangerous seas today as the former Cyclone Oswald slowly tracks south after leaving a trail of devastation in Queensland.
David Sercombe, from Weatherwatch, said the Hunter could expect at least 100millimetres of rain today with some areas receiving 150millimetres or more while wind gusts could reach 100km/h along the coast.
To view the Bureau of Meteorology's latest radar images, click here.
‘‘It looks like the Hunter will get abnormally high tides as well as dangerous surf and damaging winds although [the area] won’t get the destructive winds that Queensland has had,’’ Mr Sercombe said.
The Bureau of Meteorology predicted a good chance of moderate flooding at various sections of the Paterson and Williams rivers today and a good chance of minor flooding along parts of the Hunter River.
For the latest warnings from the Bureau of Meteorology, click here.
Seas are expected to reach six metres by noon, prompting warnings for rock fishermen and boat users. The Newcastle Port Corporation advised ships anchored off the coast to move further out to sea yesterday afternoon.
State Emergency Service volunteers were called to 16 jobs on Saturday and yesterday across the Hunter – mostly leaking homes and fallen branches.
Crews were on standby with last night’s rain expected to create more work for volunteers today.
Mr Sercombe said Oswald was headed for the Tamworth and Armidale areas, where it would merge with a trough system before heading back to sea near the mid north coast or possibly as far south as Bulahdelah.
Yesterday’s big wet caused havoc on Hunter roads with police called to dozens of car accidents.
They included a car that rolled on the Putty Road 40kilometres south of Singleton, a three-car accident on the Pacific Highway at Belmont North, a two-car accident on Wollombi Road, Bellbird, and a crash on Nelson Bay Road, Medowie.
There were no reports of serious injuries, but the accidents coincided with heavy traffic making its way south through Bulahdelah and Hexham as the school holidays draw to a close.
The bureau is forecasting isolated showers and thunderstorms across the Hunter tomorrow with the rain set to continue for most of this week.
In northern NSW, about 1000 people have been isolated by flood waters.
More than 360 calls for assistance were made to the NSW SES yesterday. Winds of up to 140km/h hit parts of the northern rivers, while in the northern NSW town of Darkwood on the Bellinger River around 500 people are believed to be isolated by floodwaters.
But while residents have been told to stock up, SES spokeswoman Jessica Chan said there were no fears for their safety.
‘‘The community is quite used to it,’’ she said.
Some 53 swift water rescue technicians were moved to the north of the state yesterday to bolster local resources.
Ms Chan said conditions in the north were expected to ease after lunchtime as the front’s intensity increased towards Sydney.
‘‘We are expecting heavy rainfall and flash flooding.’’
A severe weather warning was issued for much of the state yesterday.
‘‘Beach conditions in these areas [mid north coast, northern tablelands, metropolitan and Hunter] will be dangerous and people should stay well away from the surf and surf exposed areas,’’ the Bureau of Meteorology said.
Bureau regional director Barry Hanstrum said: ‘‘The rain and wind will ease from most of NSW on Tuesday as the low moves further offshore and into the Tasman Sea, but dangerous surf will continue into Wednesday.’’
NSW SES commissioner Murray Kear said: ‘‘With damaging winds and heavy rain expected in Sydney, Newcastle and the Central Coast on Monday, holiday makers should exercise patience, drive to the conditions and never enter flood water.’’ with AAP