Wild weather warning for NSW as heavy rain forecast to lash Sydney over weekend

New South Wales is bracing for more potential flooding with heavy rainfall expected to lash much of the east coast over the weekend and possible thunderstorms predicted to hit Sydney.

The city is expected to see up to 50mm of rain on Sunday alone, with rain and thunderstorms also forecast for Saturday and Friday afternoon.

The Bureau of Meteorology said there could be further severe weather warnings issued across the weekend, with heavy rainfall likely to hit much of the state, intensifying beyond the Western Slopes region and towards the coast.

Agata Imielska, senior climatologist and manager of NSW and ACT at the bureau, said there was potential for “severe thunderstorms” that could bring heavier rainfall and hail.

“With those thunderstorms, they can produce that localised heavier rainfall but also a risk of damaging winds and hail, which is more of a risk for the north-east of the state.”

“The most significant element is that the rainfall will be quite widespread, with the rain expected to start late afternoon or evening on Saturday and to peak on Sunday.”

The south coast can also expect a drenching, with up to 50mm of rain forecast for Bateman’s Bay and Bega across Saturday night and Sunday.

Usually dry areas around the south-west of Queensland could also be affected, with a month’s worth of rainfall predicted for the region.

The rain is due to a deepening low pressure system crossing NSW and could potentially see renewed flooding across the state.

There is potential for renewed flooding at catchments that are already saturated from rainfall earlier this week, including at the Paroo, Namoi, Macquarie and Lachlan catchments.

“It will come down to where we’ll see those heavier falls, and with these kinds of events there’s always the risk of thunderstorms developing in the wrong spot, and intensifying,” Imielska said.

“The risk is in these catchments that already have water moving through the river system. So there has been a flood watch issued for minor to moderate flooding, so if you intend on heading out on the road, please be mindful of the conditions.

“Thunderstorms could develop and change conditions very rapidly on the road.”

The bureau warned there was still some unpredictability about where the rain would fall.

“With this particular system, we’re seeing some of the guidance moving the area where we could see significant falls. These systems are a bit more sensitive and a bit more changeable.”

It comes after the Lachlan River peaked at Forbes at 10.53m on Thursday morning, damaging crops and homes but avoiding a repeat of the 2016 floods.

The flooding caused more than 1,800 residents to evacuate their homes earlier this week.

Major flooding was seen at Cottons Weir this week, and is also forecast for Jemalong on Friday.

The Namoi River peaked on Friday morning just below the minor flood level (4.9m), with the flood peak expected to reach Goangra on Tuesday.

Dam levels across the state remain high, as many towns in the central-west hope floodwaters will recede before the weekend’s rain.

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