Sydney and other parts of NSW were subject to intense thunderstorms overnight that brought quick-fire lightning and damaging winds that left one man dead.
The 37-year-old was walking through The Rocks in Sydney’s CBD when he was struck by an airborne gas bottle that was swept up by strong winds, NSW police said.
He suffered severe injuries and was rushed to hospital but later died.
Tens of thousands of homes suffered power outages as a result of the the sudden storm which ripped across the state capital about 10.30pm (local time).
Endeavour Energy said electricity cuts were affecting 24,000 of its customers after power lines were brought down in northwest Sydney and the Hawkesbury region, with 270 electrical hazards needing repairs.
Ausgrid said its power network had been damaged by the intense lightning storm in Sydney, with 72,000 properties left without electricity.
Wind speeds of 101km/h were recorded in Richmond, in Sydney’s northwest.
NSW SES spokesman Jason Simms told ABC radio volunteers had been called to 600 jobs in the Sydney metropolitan area since 9pm on Tuesday, with most requests for assistance related to downed trees and branches.
Damaging winds of about 90km/h pelted Nowra on Tuesday night and were expected to move into Wollongong due to a trough, where the city was pelted by large hail.
As the storm rolled into the state capital, terrified social media users uploaded videos of the treacherous and “crazy” storm.
“Never seen such electrical intensity. Felt like the end of the world as we know it,” one Sydneysider declared.
Winds during Sydney storm were near cyclonic with lightning every second pic.twitter.com/sU9f3HMzDt— Andrew Backhouse (@Andytwit123) February 18, 2020
UPDATE: Severe #thunderstorms have moved out of the detailed warning area. Storms continue to be active, producing large #hail, damaging #wind gusts and heavy #rainfall, across the northeastern NSW. https://t.co/RhPkoJD0Cv pic.twitter.com/wS0ogS7gd3— Bureau of Meteorology, New South Wales (@BOM_NSW) February 18, 2020
“Winds during Sydney storm were near cyclonic with lightning every second,” one man said while sharing a video from the CBD of powerful wind and rain.
In 41 minutes from 10.49pm, 10.2 mm of rain fell in Sydney’s CBD.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the storms were expected to continue on Wednesday for parts of northeast NSW including Tamworth.
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