Cold, damaging winds blast Sydney

Several Jetstar domestic flights have been cancelled. Picture: Rob Homer
Several Jetstar domestic flights have been cancelled. Picture: Rob Homer

UPDATE

Dozens of flights have been grounded in Sydney and Melbourne as wild winds lash Australia's south-east.

Thirty-one domestic flights have so far been cancelled out of Melbourne, mostly because of the weather. No international flights have been affected at this stage.

Both Sydney and Melbourne airports have just one runway open for domestic flights, meaning fewer planes can land.

Wind speeds reached 96 km/h at Kurnell on Botany Bay, while Sydney Airport recorded westerly wind gusts of 83 km/h at 10am. Wattamolla registered a gust of 85 km/h at 1.45pm.

Choppy waters on Botany Bay on Friday. Picture: AAP

Choppy waters on Botany Bay on Friday. Picture: AAP

Qantas said it had cancelled about a dozen domestic flights by early Friday afternoon.

"We're asking customers to check their flight status for updates and we hope to get everyone to their destination today," a Qantas spokesman said.

Other passengers were hit with delays and long queues at the airports.

One Qantas flight spent more than an hour extra in the air, circling above Sydney Airport before landing at 10.28am. Data on the Flight Aware website says QFA402 travelled 1413 kilometres from Melbourne, almost double the planned 730km.

Airlines were warning passengers to check their flight status on Friday.

"There's windy weather about, which is affecting services across our network. Sorry, we know this blows," Virgin Australia said on Twitter.

Jetstar said strong winds in Sydney had caused cancellations and delays to domestic flights.

"We thank customers travelling to or from Sydney for their patience and advise them to check the current status of their flight," a Jetstar statement said.

"We appreciate delays are frustrating, however safety is our highest priority."

Jetstar passengers will be contacted by SMS.

On Thursday the Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning yesterday for damaging winds affecting the Sydney, Illawarra, and Hunter.

According to the weather bureau's warning, peak gusts of 90km/h are likely to hit Sydney in the morning with damaging winds averaging 60-70km/h throughout the day.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Helen Reid said colder air will arrive on Saturday, and some areas will also see strong winds on Saturday night.

While Sydney's temperatures won't drop more than a couple of degrees, the wind chill factor will likely make the overnight minimums of 7 or 8 degrees feel more like 5 or 6.

  • with The Age

EARLIER

Sydneysiders are warned to brace for strong winds and a series of cold fronts cross south-eastern Australia over the next three days.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning yesterday for damaging winds affecting the Sydney, Illawarra, and Hunter.

The cold fronts will blow all the way through the weekend - although the most damaging blasts are forecast for Friday morning.

According to the weather bureau's warning, damaging winds averaging 60-70km/h will be felt in Sydney throughout the day.

According to the weather bureau's warning, damaging winds averaging 60-70km/h will be felt in Sydney throughout the day.

Sydney Airport recorded a westerly wind gust of 78km/h at 9am on Friday morning while Wattamolla recorded a 65km/h gust at 9.30am and Bankstown gusts of 56km/h.

Sydney Airport has advised all passengers to check with their airline for flight status because of potential disruptions caused by strong winds.

According to the weather bureau's warning, peak gusts of 90km/h are likely to hit Sydney in the morning with damaging winds averaging 60-70km/h throughout the day.

Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Helen Reid said the colder air will arrive on Saturday, and some areas will also see strong winds on Saturday night.

While Sydney's temperatures won't drop more than a couple of degrees, the wind chill factor will likely make the overnight minimums of 7 or 8 degrees feel more like 5 or 6.

Residents of the Blue Mountains will really feel the cold as temperatures dip below zero.

"Sydney doesn't get that cold, but if you're in the Blue Mountains it will be particularly cold on Saturday," Ms Reid said, while the Illawarra region is likely to bear the brunt of the damaging winds "because of the way [the westerly] rolls down off the mountain.

In Sydney, winds are expected to ease somewhat on Saturday and Sunday to 25-35km/h, with a slight chance of showers.

While Sunday morning will be cold, the conditions shouldn't affect The Sun Herald City2Surf - apart from the westerly winds potentially giving a boost to runners on Heartbreak Hill