A meteorologist explains the NSW storm (in a way you'll understand).

Rosie Waterland chats to meteorologist Magdalena Roze about just the heck caused all the insane weather in NSW this week.

The weather in NSW this week has been CRAZY. In what’s being called the worst storm of the decade, the skies turned dark on Monday and have stayed that way ever since. The wind has been equivalent to a Category 2 cyclone, the rain has been relentless and the pictures coming through almost unbelievable.

But what actually causes a storm like this? How is it that we went to bed on Sunday night without a care in the world and woke up to the apocalypse on Monday? What has this storm lasted so long, when others are done in just a few hours? How have the clouds not run out of rain? WILL IT EVER END?

Read more: The latest news from the NSW storm

The only people with the answers to these questions are those weather wizards known as meteorologists, so I got in touch with the smartest one I know and asked her to break it down.

Here is journalist, meteorologist and very patient woman Magdalena Roze generously answering all my confused questions about what the hell has happened this week:

1. I feel like one day it was beautiful and sunny, then I went to bed and woke up to the apocalypse. WHAT HAPPENED?

An east coast low formed very quickly, very close to the coast, and didn’t move for two days. This allowed it to unleash it’s full potential in a concentrated area. Even though these nasty lows are predictable they appear to sneak up on us because they form so swiftly and hug the shore. This is quite different to cyclones which usually form far away from the continent and last about a week. This often gives us more time to track them and grasp what’s going on.

2. Um, no offence, but I don’t remember any weather people saying NSW was going to become a watery hell this week. You are a qualified meteorologist. WHY DIDN’T YOU WARN US?

We did! But “watery hell” is unfortunately not an official meteorological term despite being a more apt description.

3. Or did you warn us, and nobody listened? I feel like you may have been screaming into the camera “STORM OF THE DECADE” and most people just thought, “Oh. Better pack a brolly tomorrow.”

Now we’re talking. I think it’s easy for us to be relaxed about things like lows because more often that not they don’t cause much more than a miserable day. But it’s really important for people to know that east coast lows can be as destructive as cyclones. While the two have different structures and lifespans, they both have the potential to bring destructive winds, torrential rain, flooding and coastal inundation.


Read more: The most hair-raising photos from the NSW storm

4. Don’t clouds run out of rain? Please explain how it can rain for this long.

Clouds actually do eventually run out of rain but in this case it felt like it was raining forever because the east coast low was very slow-moving, virtually stationary. So rather than tracking somewhere else and dumping rain there, it just hung around off the Newcastle coast for two days with relentless rain and winds in the Hunter and Sydney area.

5. Will we ever see the sun again?

I bet some of you have already had a few glimpses today! But if you’ve been stuck in the office vortex you can always google Byron Bay weather.

Some of the storm’s damage.

6. Is this to do with someone call Nina? Or her brother Nino?

Nope, but don’t get me started. I love talking about La Nina and El Nino.

7. Why don’t they make umbrellas that can also withstand wind? You studied meteorology – surely you’ve thought about this in depth.

Yes, and there is a great umbrella out there that can withstand wind! It’s the meteorologist secret! Google “Blunt umbrellas”, they’re engineered to withstand cyclone-force winds and they quite chic. They don’t pay me to say this, I just really like them.

8. Has this happened because our planet is turning is against us because of climate change?

Not directly, although we are seeing more extreme events due to climate change.

9. As you bring us the weather news, do people blame you when the weather is like this? Also, why shouldn’t we? THANKS FOR THIS CRAPPY WEATHER, MAGDALENA.

I always get blamed. And never thanked when it’s sunny! We’re such martyrs!

10. Bottom line, when will this all be over? Or do we all just need to accept that this is our way of life now?

It’s pretty much over for Sydney by late this afternoon. With a sunny Friday and weekend ahead! Feel free to blame me for that! :)

For more of Magdalena explaining all things weather in a way you’ll understand, head to her website at,  or follow her on Facebook here and Twitter here.