Gale force winds have wreaked havoc across NSW shattering windows, cutting power to tens of thousands of homes and causing commuter chaos, including the cancellation of more than 100 flights at Sydney Airport.
But conditions are expected to ease overnight, after wind gusts on Friday reached 106 km/h on Sydney Harbour, in Nowra and at Port Kembla.
The SES on Friday received more than 500 calls for help with winds so strong they blew the roof off a business in Wollongong leading to 80 people being evacuated.
In Gosford, a tree fell onto a house trapping a woman in a wheelchair, while at International House Sydney at Barangaroo three windows shattered some five storeys up.
The building was evacuated but there were “no patients”, an ambulance spokeswoman told AAP.
Most of the damage was on the state’s east coast with the SES responding to trees falling on roads, powerlines and properties in the Illawarra, Central Coast, south Sydney and the city’s innerwest.
However, conditions are easing with a SES spokeswoman saying the worst was over for Sydney.
“Sydney has seen the worst of the damaging winds today and we are looking at easing winds to continue until Saturday morning,” she said.
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning on Friday for damaging winds in the Hunter, Central Tablelands, Sydney and the Illawarra.
A warning was also issued for hazardous surf conditions across the state’s entire coastline over the weekend.
“It will still be very windy on Saturday, just not as windy as Friday,” a bureau spokesman told AAP.
Domestic flights in and out of Sydney were affected by the weather with planes only able to use one runway and travellers facing 60 to 90-minute delays on average, airport officials said.
Power was also cut to Sydney, Illawarra and Central Coast homes and businesses.
Emergency crews from Ausgrid had to restore power to more than 50,000 customers.
The distributor says crews are still responding to 400 reports of hazards on the electricity network including trees on powerlines and downed lines.
Endeavour Energy said 11,000 customers lost power and by the evening some 2000 were still without supply.
Friday’s weather warning comes two days after two walls at separate Sydney building sites collapsed in high winds.
A 30-year-old worker was killed and a teenager received critical head injuries on Wednesday.