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Storm hits NSW coast as SES receives hundreds of calls for assistance

NSW is being smashed by strong winds, rain and huge waves, as hundreds of people call emergency services for help.

A raging storm moving along the NSW coast has given people in the state yet another reason to stay indoors.

Emergency services have received hundreds of calls for assistance as the low pressure system moves across the coastline, whipping up huge waves, bringing down trees and damaging roofs.

The state would be drenched in a month’s worth of rain on Tuesday alone, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

But it was the winds and surfs that would be the most concerning.

“I think the biggest danger right now would be the waves,” BOM meteorologist Melody Sturm said.

“Especially right now, it’s getting worse with the formation of the low, and wind speeds are really picking up.”

She said people would be safest not to go outside unless they have to.

“If you can stay indoors, it’s the safest – in either case, definitely stay away from the water.”

By Tuesday evening, the highest wave measured by a buoy off Sydney was 6.8m.

People who live in places that tend to experience coastal erosion should be extra vigilant as the waves grew in size.

The hazardous surf warning was issued for both Tuesday and Wednesday and directed at people living on the Hunter, Sydney, Illawarra, Batemans and Eden coasts.

People in those areas were advised not to go fishing, swimming or boating in the swell.

The Bureau also put in place a marine winds warning for NSW, a storm force winds caution for Sydney and Illawarra, a gale force winds warning for Sydney, Lake Macquarie and Hunter regions, and a strong winds alert for the Byron and Coffs coasts.

Since the bad weather began, the State Emergency Service had received more than 350 calls for assistance, a spokesman said on Tuesday evening.

Nearly 140 of those came from the Sydney area.

“We are urging people to be aware of the risks, especially when it comes to weather systems like this,” an SES spokesman said.

He said people should stay off the roads if possible, move their parked cars out from under trees, tie up loose items in backyards and on balconies, and to bring pets and animals under shelter.

“Be vigilant, but not alarmed,” he said.

Meteorologists who were tracking the storm as it moved in from regional Victoria at the end of the weekend were speculating it could develop into a so-called “bomb”, which is when a low-pressure system deepens at an unusually rapid pace.

Sky News Australia chief meteorologist Tom Saunders said it was too early to tell.

“We won’t be able to confirm a bomb until tomorrow morning,” he said on Tuesday evening.

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