New threat from deadly storm
SYDNEY has woken up to showers this morning, a reprieve from the chaos of yesterday.
However the deadly storm's wrath is not over yet, with gale force wind warnings for the Byron, Coffs, Macquarie, Hunter, Sydney and Illawarra coastal areas.
A severe weather warning for most of coastal NSW was cancelled at 4.40am today.
Sydneysiders will today get some reprieve from the intense weather, expected to bring about 4mm of rain, as emergency crews continue a massive citywide clean up operation.
The low pressure system which caused havoc for commuters and emergency services is expected to have moved on from the NSW coast this morning, easing conditions somewhat.
Sky News Weather Meteorologist Tristan Meyers said the disastrous band of weather will be moving out East into the ocean today.
"In it's wake, what we have is showers which are moderate to heavy at times with sunny breaks coming through in between," he said.
"As we go into the afternoon and the evening, we see those showers becoming less and less frequent and it should be clearing by Friday."
He said totals of 100mm fell yesterday in areas such as Chatswood and Observatory Hill.
Three people were killed and property destroyed on Sydney's wettest November day in more than three decades, as a vicious storm swept through the city and surrounding regions on Wednesday.
Coastal NSW was battered by the "once in a century" storm, as more than a month's worth of rain bucketed down in just two hours.
The effects of it are still being felt as large and powerful surf conditions are expected today - making coastal activities such as rock fishing, swimming and surfing extremely hazardous.
A building in Sydney's north was destroyed by fierce winds witnesses described as a "mini cyclone", while elsewhere residents were cleaning up after roads were flooded and commuters had travel plans thrown into chaos.
Parts of the city were swamped by more than 100 millimetres of rain, which caused flash flooding in several locations. More than a dozen rescues were carried out by emergency workers, mainly from cars that were submerged in floodwaters.
The windows of a Chatswood office building were blown out in a graphic illustration of the power of the historic storm.
"It was amazing actually because you can see … how it's tried to actually suck, it's sucked some of the doors the reverse way out through the frames and actually dislodged the frames and all the rubber lining that holds the windows," building manager Greg Transell told the ABC.
"It really was quite scary actually because you feel like you're actually getting sucked out."
One witness said it looked like damage caused by a "mini cyclone".
HORROR WEATHER CLAIMS THREE LIVES
Tragically, a NSW SES volunteer in his 40s "passed away after collapsing" while on duty at Flinders, south of Wollongong.
"This is a tragic event and my deepest sympathies are with the man's family and friends," Minister for Emergency Services Troy Grant said in a statement.
"My thoughts and prayers are also with the broader emergency services community," he added.
Earlier, a 14-year-old boy was killed in a two-vehicle crash at Thornleigh, on Sydney's upper north shore, and a male driver died when a car collided with a pole on Old Prospect Rd at South Wentworthville at about 7pm.
Two police officers were also seriously injured when a tree fell on their car at North Ryde. A female officer suffered a suspected broken leg and a male officer was concussed. The officers were helping Zac Morris when the tree hit. He managed to climb out through his window.
"I literally heard the noise and the roof just sort of craved in," he told The Daily Telegraph.
Close to 100mm was recorded at Observatory Hill station in less than two hours early on Wednesday.
Some of the biggest falls were recorded around the Sydney Basin and the city's north and northwest with Mosman (140mm), Sydney CBD (123mm), Chatswood (124mm) all exceeding 100 millimetres.
Bureau of Meteorology state manager Ann Farrell said: "For that intensity and that duration, that's the sort of rainfall you'd expect to occur about once every hundred years for that particular site."
CALLS FOR HELP
The SES received more than 1600 calls for help throughout the day and by 6pm, there had been 83 crashes, 10 an hour, with 20 people hospitalised.
The call-outs were four times the daily average and at times the rain was so intense the rescue helicopters were grounded.
At around 10pm on Wednesday night, Ausgrid was still working to restore power to over 3000 customers across Sydney and the Central Coast after around 8000 were left in the dark following the worst of the storms.
Passengers around the country faced flight delays and cancellations as major disruptions at Sydney airport set off a ripple effect across the network.
With just a single runway in use and about 150 flights, mostly domestic, either delayed or cancelled, travellers were left stranded at Sydney and Melbourne airports.
A "SECOND PHASE"
The rain that belted large parts of the state may have subsided slightly but forecasters warned Sydneysiders not to become complacent overnight.
The intense low pressure system that delivered Sydney's wildest November storm came with a "second phase" as ferocious 90km/h winds teamed up with driving rain to make last night's commute home a misery.
"The band has drifted south but it will then come north again and as the low intensifies it will bring powerful winds and further rainfall. There will be plenty of trees coming down at the back end of the day," Sky News Weather channel meteorologist Rob Sharpe told news.com.au.
The Bureau of Meteorology warned shortly before 5pm that a "second phase is now beginning", bringing with it "storms and intense rain".
It made for a very long journey home for tens of thousands of city workers with 30 minute delays on buses, light rail cancelled and delays on other lines into the city.