Sydney has been hit by a severe storm that has closed roads and light rail lines and threatened to cause delays at the city's airport.

The Bureau of Metereology had warned of flash flooding and damaging winds in suburbs near the airport, including Botany, Maroubra and Randwick.

There were reports of up to 48mm in some areas. Nine News reported that a number of weather stations in the Sydney Basin recorded their heaviest rain in six months within an hour, including Observatory Hill (41mm) and Canterbury (47mm).

In the west, Penrith, Parramatta and Campbelltown also experienced the full force of the storm, as did Wollongong and Port Kembla south of Sydney.


Sydney city streets were awash with pedestrians battling to cross flooded intersections in ankle-deep water. A car was washed down a street in Bondi.

Sydney Airport was operating as normal with no flights cancelled, but travellers were told to expect delays and check with their airlines.

The airport received 26mm of rain in just one hour. Light rail services have been cancelled between Dulwich Hill and Central due to flooding. Motorists travelling across the Anzac Bridge were also experiencing major delays due to soaked roads.

Only one westbound lane was open approaching Victoria Road and City West Link. Flooding also affected a number of other roads in the western suburbs, including parts of Parramatta Road and James Ruse Drive.

The southwestern suburb of Canterbury received 30mm of rain in 30 minutes.

The SES has responded to 11 flood rescues in the city, mainly in the inner suburbs of Alexandria and Zetland. Two rescues had been completed, a spokeswoman said.

Light rail commuter Andrea Plawutsky had been travelling towards Central Station when her journey came to an abrupt halt.

She and fellow passengers were stuck in the carriage for five minutes at Chinatown before being told they had to get out because the driver could not go any further.

Rubbish bins were floating down the street outside, Plawutsky said. She ended up running through the rain barefoot. "The water was halfway up my shins when I got off," Plawutsky told AAP.