Still getting over this week's monster storm?
If so, you may be comforted to know that climate scientists predict a lot fewer such events for eastern Australia as the century unfolds.
The development of intense low-pressure systems like the one this week off eastern Australian – known as east coast lows – are among the most dangerous weather systems affecting the NSW coast, according to the Bureau of Meteorology.
As a result of changes to atmospheric conditions, though, the frequency of such lows may drop by 40 per cent by 2100 if carbon dioxide levels continue to rise on their current high trajectory, according to Andrew Dowdy, a research scientist at the bureau.
"In contrast, if global greenhouse gas concentrations are stabilised this century, then only about 25 per cent fewer east coast lows are expected to occur," Dr Dowdy told Fairfax Media.
Having fewer storms, though, doesn't get Sydney or surrounding regions off the hook.
In a research paper published in Nature Climate Change earlier this year, Dr Dowdy and co-authors noted climate models indicate "it is possible that the storms that do occur could become more intense".
That's less reassuring for residents in the path of winds such as those that reached 161 km/h on Tuesday night at Wattamolla to Sydney's south. Gusts of 120 km/h in the Port Botany region were enough to break a 62,000-tonne vessel free of its moorings during the height of the storm, slamming it into another ship.
Bad news for surfers
Other benefits from fewer storms include fewer high waves – although keen surfers will likely see that as a minus.
Some other changes under way with global warming are also likely to counter the gains from fewer storms, including rising temperatures that will lead to more frequent, more intense and longer lasting heatwaves.
Professor David Karoly at the University of Melbourne said that sea levels along the east coast of Australia have already risen 20 centimetres and may rise a metre or more by 2100.
"On the south-east coast, even with fewer east coast lows, the storm surge impacts are even greater because of the overall increase in sea-level," Professor Karoly said.
Fewer storms, too, may mean less rainfall for eastern Victoria and southern NSW, reducing water availability for regions already seeing a reduction in rain, he said: "Certainly in terms of rainfall, it's not a good thing."
South-east Australia is experiencing a long-term decline in the number of storms, particularly in autumn and winter, in research going back to 1885.
Lisa Alexander from the University of NSW and Blair Trewin at the Bureau of Meteorology were among authors of a 2011 paper that identified the drop.
"The results show strong evidence for a significant reduction in intense wind events across [south-east] Australia over the past century, consistent with a southward movement of southern hemisphere storm tracks," the paper said, adding that such a shift was likely to contribute to an observed rainfall decline.