Residents across eastern states are waking up to chaotic scenes after a night of destructive storms left tens of thousands of homes without power and at least one person dead.
In a freak storm-related accident in Sydney shortly before midnight Tuesday, a man died after a gas bottle flew into the air and struck him as he walked along Harrington St in The Rocks.
Witnesses rushed to the man’s aid and took him to a nearby hotel where they were met by police who continued CPR.
The 37-year-old was then rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital but his injuries from the force of the bottle were so severe that attempts to revive him had failed, NSW Police confirmed in a statement on Wednesday morning.
— Michael Blok (@michaelblok26) February 18, 2020
The repeated lightning and damaging wind gusts were enough to cause trees and power lines to fall across Sydney, with huge hailstones hitting streets across the central and southern parts of coastal NSW.
There seems to be no respite in sight, with the Bureau of Meteorology predicting that thunderstorms are likely to continue in central NSW during the early hours before moving towards the northeast by Wednesday afternoon.
— Brendan Bradford (@1bbradfo) February 18, 2020
About 24,000 people experienced electricity cuts because of fallen power lines in northwest Sydney and the Hawkesbury region, with 270 electrical hazards needing repairs, Endeavour Energy said.
An additional 72,000 properties have been left without electricity after Ausgrid’s power network was severely damaged by the intense lightning storm across Sydney.
Damaging winds of about 90km/h pelted Nowra on Tuesday night and were expected to move into Wollongong due to a trough.
NSW SES spokesman Jason Simms told ABC radio that 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.
— seth darby 🌈 (@sethdarby) February 18, 2020
— Tom Dawkins (@tomjd) February 18, 2020
— Darnel Prakoso PhD (@D2Prakoso) February 18, 2020
— g u r i g i n (@gurigin) February 18, 2020
In Victoria, SES took 300 calls for assistance on Tuesday as some Geelong residents were advised to stay inside after a dam wall collapsed and caused flooding along Rivergum Drive near the Barwon River.
Flooding also delayed several major train networks in Melbourne, including the Cranbourne and Pakenham line, and cut many tram lines, particularly in St Kilda.
The rain intensified throughout the day as golf ball-sized hail battered the city, causing drains to overflow and flood into Southern Cross Railway station.
I don't claim to know how the drainage works at Southern Cross station, but shortly after the deafening downpour started, water started gushing onto the tracks out of a few drainholes?? 🤔 (plt 12) #melbweather #metrotrains pic.twitter.com/XunH3SsMYn
— Jo (@twelveeyes) February 18, 2020
Wednesday forecast for NSW
The bureau predicted winds would strengthen throughout the day but heavy rainfall was unlikely due to fast-moving thunderstorms.
Cooler weather conditions are expected as a cold front moves through NSW from southeast parts of the country.
A dry air mass means southern parts of NSW could have temperatures drop below 20C, particularly in the Southern Ranges and South Coast region.
More #Canberra Hale Storm preparations.
This is #gold!
Via C News Facebook page. pic.twitter.com/J4yGUJT5VV
— It's All Complete Bollocks! 💧🌈 (@RichardTuffin) February 18, 2020
Western NSW regions are not expected to have any significant rainfall over the next few days.
Gale warnings are in place for the Eden Coast and strong wind warnings for the Macquarie Coast, Hunter Coast, Illawarra Coast and Batemans Coast.
Hazardous surf warnings are also in place for the Illawarra Coast, Batemans Coast and Eden Coast, with the NSW Police Marine Area Command advising people to consider staying out of the water.