Severe, fast-moving thunderstorm hits Sydney, leaving widespread damage and 76 000 homes without power, Australia

Severe, fast-moving thunderstorm hits Sydney, leaving widespread damage and 76 000 homes without power, Australia

A severe, fast-moving thunderstorm tore through the Greater Sydney region on Tuesday afternoon, November 26, 2019. Lightning and strong winds of 90 km/h (56 mph) wreaked havoc in the area, leaving widespread damage and around 76 500 homes without electricity.

By mid-afternoon, train services were disrupted between Gordon and Berowra on the T1 North Shore Line and Central Coast and Newcastle Line due to urgent power supply restorations at Hornsby and knocked trees on the tracks.

The storm only lasted two minutes in portions of northern Sydney, but the ruins would take days to clean up.

At Roseville Golf Club, ferocious winds uprooted trees that forced golfers to seek cover in the clubhouse. 

"We've lost about 20 to 30 trees. There's heaps of debris to clean up and we'll have to close for at least a couple of days," said Matt O'Sullivan from the golf club, describing how the violent weather left a trail of destruction.

Meanwhile, Ausgrid spokesman Shuan Fewings said widespread power outage was due to intense lightning. "A lot of it is related to lightning strikes as well as damaging wind gusts," he said. "Obviously we have a lot of crews out there and it looks like north and south of Sydney are [the] hardest hit," he said.

Ausgrid added that outages were expected to extend until tomorrow. Residents are urged to make alternative arrangements for food and medical situations.

Endeavour Energy, on the other hand, confirmed 25 000 homes and establishments were without electricity on Tuesday afternoon.

"Emergency crews are working to restore power to 25 000 customers after severe storms swept across Western Sydney and caused 190 electrical hazards," the agency said on a statement. "Power is currently out to all customers supplied from major substations at Macquarie Fields & Wisemans Ferry."

Prior to the storm, Sydney was blanketed in thick bushfire smoke as the temperature in the Central Business District had reached 35.2 °C (90.5 °F) by noon. As the storm hit about an hour later, the temperature dropped to 28.9 °C (84 °F).

Featured image credit: @swgn/Twitter

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