Temperatures in the mid to high 30s and increasing humidity left people in the Hunter hoping for a southerly buster to cool things down on Monday, but when the cool change hit it lived up to its name.
With relatively short notice gale force winds, horizontal rain and an electrical storm turned night into day and caused widespread damage to property.
More than 20,000 homes lost power across the Hunter overnight after the storm hit about 8pm on Monday.
Power has since been restored to the majority of properties, with all expected to be back online by 8pm Tuesday.
The State Emergency Service received nearly 300 calls for help as trees blocked roads and traffic lights went out.
More than 1100 lightning strikes were recorded, with high winds and torrential rain combining to bring down power poles and lines.
A nursing home at Stockton lost its roof, forcing residents to evacuate, and a bus shelter smashed into a retirement village at Fern Bay.
Roof blown off for second time
Presbyterian Aged Care chief executive Paul Sadler said the roof over the Ibis Wing Dining Room was partially blown off, causing damage to other Ibis Wing roof areas.
“There are no reports of injuries to any residents, staff or other people,” Mr Sadler said.
“Other parts of the facility are operating as normal as the damage is contained to this wing.”
Emergency services including the SES, fire brigade and ambulance were attending Presbyterian Aged Care.
“Around 30 residents in the upstairs Ibis Wing were moved to safety,” Mr Sadler said.
“We are liaising with family members and the emergency services to arrange temporary accommodation for these residents.
“PAC Wescott will be able to house some of them in other rooms, and we are currently making arrangements with other local residential care providers for the interim accommodation of the remaining residents.
“We are following our emergency plan as we respond to the situation.
The weather event comes 16 months after similar damage to an adjacent section of the roof in August 2019.
Woman rescued, shelter hits home
The State Emergency Service said a bus shelter smashed into a retirement village at Fern Bay during last night’s wild weather.
A woman had to be rescued from her home after she was trapped inside by a large fallen tree.
Spokeswoman Sharon Fox said the SES was expecting more calls for help on Tuesday afternoon.
“The advice to people this morning is if you wake up and find damage please give us a call on 132 500,” Ms Fox said.
“Obviously, there’s still a number of power outages in the area and Ausgrid are working hard to restore power as quickly as possible.
“We’ll have a number of volunteers out and about today helping with the clean-up.”