Sydney’s soggiest suburbs?
Want to know if you live in Sydney’s wettest suburbs? Quite possibly – they’re right on your doorstep – Pymble, St Ives and Turramurra.
One of Australia’s leading meteorologists Richard Whitaker, who spoke at St Ives library about the area’s frequent deluges and severe weather events, said that while suburbs in the west of Sydney like Campbelltown get a modest 700mm rain a year, Turramurra cops double that at 1400mm, with Pymble and St Ives coming an equal soggy second.
For those living in the area, that’s probably not much comfort. “The upper North Shore usually gets the highest rainfall in Sydney without a doubt,” said Richard, who lived in St Ives for 44 years and has written a book on drastic weather, Australia’s Natural Disasters and Understanding Climate Change.
“The heavy rain is mostly due to the North Shore Ridge that lifts moisture-laden winds coming in from the south east. Lifting produces clouds, and the normal knock on effect – rain.
“More generally the Sydney basin gets its fair share of severe weather, notably from east coast lows and thunderstorms due to a combination of tropical winds coming down from the north contrasting with cold surges of air from the southern latitudes as far south as Tasmania.
“It’s this contrast that produces these severe weather events. And because the area is on a high ridge, it gets more of this extreme weather than other parts of Sydney.”
The North Shore has an infamous catalogue of drastic weather events produced by east coast lows – like the tornado in Lindfield in November 1914, a huge thunderstorm in January 1991 that ripped through the heart of Pymble (pictured) and other parts of the North Shore, and another in the centre of Hornsby in 2013 that produced serious damage around the station and Westfield.
And it’s only going to get worse. “While we’re going to get less destructive hailstorms, global warming means there’ll be more bursts of heavy rain and more tropical weather coming your way.” You’ve been warned.