Australia’s Sydney lashed by tornado-like thunderstorm



Australia’s biggest city Sydney was smashed by a tornado-like storm on Wednesday, with hailstones as big as golf balls and wind speeds of 200 kilometres (124 miles) per hour.

The Bureau of Meteorology said the winds recorded during the storm, which later moved out to sea, could have been the highest on record for New South Wales state.

“Very destructive winds associated with a possible tornado affected the Sydney coast around Kurnell at 10:30 this morning,” it said in a statement.

“We don’t get situations like that without it being a tornado,” the bureau’s Michael Logan told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

“It is what’s called a supercell thunderstorm and they’re one of the most dangerous thunderstorms we get.”

An ambulance official said two people needed treatment — one for shock and one for a head wound — in the southern suburb of Kurnell, where gusts of 213 kph were recorded.

One resident told Sky News the storm sounded “like a freight train going through”.

Another, speaking to the national broadcaster, said: “My neighbour’s roof is gone, the trees are all down in the front yard.

“There’s trees down out the front of his house which have landed in my front yard. It’s just a mess.”

Sydney’s airport remained open, but areas of Kurnell were without power and sewerage Wednesday and police warned against sightseeing.

“I looked outside and everything was like in a whirlwind, all the rubbish bins, everything,” one woman told the ABC.

“It was the most terrifying experience of my life.”

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