Waves of up to seven metres are expected to hit NSW’s coast as wild winds lash parts of the state, including Sydney.
The big swells hit the southern NSW coastline on Thursday morning, and wave heights are expected to double in Sydney in the afternoon and the north coast by night time as the southerly blast moves northwards.
A hazardous surf warning is in place for much of NSW’s coast.
“The worst of the wave heights will be late on Thursday afternoon … We are going to get those very big swells,” duty forecaster Helen Kirkup said.
Shortly before 3pm on Thursday, the Westpac rescue helicopter service said it was searching for a missing kayaker between Maroubra and Clovelly.
“Weather conditions are challenging,” the service said, although the kayaker was quickly rescued.
— Westpac Life Saver Rescue Helicopters (@Lifesaverhelo) August 22, 2019
A deep low pressure system moving up from Tasmania is causing the large and powerful southerly swell, with waves reaching up to seven metres along the NSW coast.
The weather bureau has forecast damaging gusts of more than 90km/h across eastern NSW on Thursday. It has issued a severe weather warning for the Illawarra, south coast, mid north coast, Hunter and Sydney regions.
Goulburn in southern NSW experienced wind gusts of 93km/h overnight on Wednesday, with a gust of 98km/h in the Southern Highlands.
The windy conditions are expected to ease on Friday but authorities are urging people to remain vigilant.
By midday Thursday, the SES had responded to more than 140 calls for help in 24 hours, mostly from the south coast and Southern Highlands.
“We’re getting ready for more jobs coming through in northern NSW and Sydney metro as the winds progress,” NSW SES spokesman Nick Aisake said.
Late in the afternoon, residents living near an out-of-control bushfire burning in north-east NSW were advised to put survival plans into action.
The fire was raging six kilometres south-west of Uki, near Tweed Heads, and is burning in an easterly direction along Kyogle Road, the NSW Rural Fire Service said on Thursday afternoon.
“The fire is burning in high fire danger conditions and is currently less than two hours from properties,” the RFS said in its official watch and act advice.
“Under these conditions, fires can be difficult to control. Embers may be blown ahead of the fire, creating spot fires [that] may threaten your home earlier than the predicted main fire front.”
Watch&Act: Pacific Mtwy, Killingworth . 75 firefighters are trying to slow the fire, which is burning in a NE direction. M1 Pacific Mtwy is closed between Palmers Rd & Newcastle Link Rd. Diversions in place, with motorists advised to follow @LiveTrafficNSW for updates #nswrfs pic.twitter.com/jINVKs5qpR
— NSW RFS (@NSWRFS) August 22, 2019
Earlier, the strong winds whipped up a bushfire burning close to a major NSW motorway.
Motorists were urged to avoid the M1 Pacific Motorway, near Killingworth in Lake Macquarie, as fire crews tried to contain the blaze burning alongside the road on Thursday morning.
“It is burning very close to the motorway and we are seeing some fairly erratic winds,” a NSW Rural Fire Service spokesman said.
Despite fire conditions easing by early afternoon and the road reopening, the RFS advised residents to continue to monitor the situation and urged motorists to cautious if travelling through the area.