An intense storm smashed parts of Sydney, Australia on Monday afternoon (LT), January 20, 2020, downing trees and power lines, and causing major traffic chaos across the city.
The storms started hitting the south and southwest portions, with three drivers left stuck in their cars for around half an hour after a tree fell on their path. Crews responded promptly to rescue the drivers, fearing that power lines had also been knocked down in the area. All three had since been freed, according to a spokesperson for New South Wales Ambulance.
There was major traffic chaos in the area as multiple traffic lights went dysfunctional in Miranda, Gymea, and Kirrawee due to a power outage.
In addition, public transport was also disrupted, with parts of the Eastern Suburbs and Illawarra line closed due to the extreme weather.
Sydney Trains said there were partial closures between Sutherland and Cronulla on Monday afternoon after debris blocked the tracks at Caringbah. Furthermore, other services were affected when a tree branch inflicted damage on a train at Sutherland.
A thunderstorm moves in over MR Botany Port Hacking this afternoon. While severe thunderstorms in the warning area have temporarily eased, the redevelopment of severe storms remains likely. The situation is being closely monitored and further warnings will be issued as necessary. pic.twitter.com/YXwEOTZx61— Marine Rescue NSW (@MarineRescueNSW) January 20, 2020
Meanwhile, up to 2 200 homes and businesses were without power, according to Endeavour Energy.
Also on Monday, two people were struck by lightning in the Blue Mountains. Both were taken to the hospital and are now in stable condition. According to 10daily, one of the patients is believed to have been climbing a metal staircase when it was struck by lightning. The second person was injured when the railing they were holding was also struck by lightning.
In Sydney's southwest, Campbelltown was reportedly pelted by giant hailstones, with nearby Oran Park recording hails around 4.5 cm (1.8 inches) in diameter. Camden, Harrington Park, Elderslie, and Kirrawee were also affected.
In Bringelly, strong winds ripped part of a roof off at a small shopping center, with debris blown away across the road.
People in affected areas were advised to stay indoors.
Minister for Police and Emergency Services Troy Grant warned commuters to take caution when driving through inundated roads.
"Run-off from rainfall in fire-affected areas may behave differently and be more rapid resulting in flash flooding which may also contain debris such as ash, soil, trees, and rocks."
Featured image credit: Marine Rescue NSW