Australia Weather News

Descriptions of hail the size of a 50 cent piece falling just east of Wagga Wagga were right on the money. - ABC

Severe thunderstorms have wreaked havoc across regional New South Wales on Monday afternoon, with hail as wide as a 50 cent piece falling in the Riverina.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning for dangerous thunderstorms in the Riverina, Central West and the Snowy Mountains about 2:00pm.

An hour later heavy rain and hail was falling in Wagga Wagga, but it lasted less than half an hour.

The Bureau said the wild weather was thanks to a strong cold front moving through NSW that was set to hit the ACT late Monday afternoon.

Heavy downpours, then sun

Forecaster David Wilke said winds were expected to reach up to 120 kilometres per hour.

"We had a 96kph gust at Cobar and 69kph in Wagga, and there's also been a few reports of hail across those regions," Mr Wilke said.

"In terms of rainfall since 9:00am, the highest I can see was at Carabost, which recorded 26mm, which I imagine fell fairly quickly around the time those storms were pushing through.

"The next highest was in Wagga, where 12mm fell — it's quite a lot of rain for the period it fell over."

Residents across the Riverina reported heavy downfalls for mere minutes before blue skies and sunshine took over.

"About five minutes' worth in Ganmain and the sun's back out," Julie-anne Ross said.

"As quick as it came, it's gone," Courtney Flarrety said.

Trees down in Wagga Wagga

There were reports of trees down in Wagga Wagga and Junee, and some damage caused to structures.

Mr Wilke said the storms moved very quickly.

The NSW State Emergency Service said it was most concerned about the possibility of flash-flooding as thunderstorms continued east.

"At no time is it safe to try and drive through floodwaters, even if you're a middle-aged man in a white Toyota Hilux," SES Western Zone's Dave Rankine said.

"Even 15cm of water is enough to wash some cars off the road."

Tie down your trampolines

Mr Rankine said preparation was key for residents in those parts of New South Wales and the ACT bracing for a barrage.

"I think the more serious weather is still to come in a lot of areas, so just try to be as prepared as you possible can," he said.

"If you've got loose sheets on your roof, secure them down if you can, and if you've got a trampoline or outdoor furniture, bring them inside or tie them down.

"During these storms, stuff can blow away into neighbours' yards and create a hazard.

"And if you do need help, we've got crews on standby and ready to go right across the state."

For assistance, call the SES on 132 500.