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Thursday, January 20, 2005

SHORT, sharp and furious storms swept greater Sydney and the South Coast last night, causing widespread damage and power blackouts.


Storms pull plug on state


January 21, 2005

SHORT, sharp and furious storms swept greater Sydney and the South Coast last night, causing widespread damage and power blackouts.

Clouds of chaos ... the storms as seen from Queens Park looking west towards the city and redfern yesterday

Sydney missed out on the worst fury of the storm as most of the damage hit the South Coast, the Illawarra and the Blue Mountains.

Western Sydney also copped a battering, with hail reported in Wilton and blackouts in Camden and Penrith.

Wind gusts of more than 120km/h battered the Riverina late yesterday afternoon, damaging hundreds of homes in the region.

Leeton and Griffith were the worst-hit towns, according to SES spokesman Rick Stone, while Junee, Temora, Tumut and Cootamundra also suffered damage.

More than 100 houses across the Riverina were damaged, with the wind tearing the sheeting off roofs and falling debris hitting homes.

In Griffith, the TAFE college lost part of its roof and there were numerous reports of damage to farmhouses.

Mr Stone said a house was blown off its foundations at Bellawongarah on the South Coast. Another lost its roof.

Electrical storms moving east also stopped trains and caused blackouts across Sydney.

More than 22,000 homes across Western Sydney, the Blue Mountains and the Southern Highlands were blacked out.

Another 1000 homes were blacked out at Jannali shortly before 6pm when a falling tree hit a high-voltage feeder box.

Mr Stone said there were no reports of significant damage in Sydney.

"We've got a few scattered reports around the Campbelltown area but nothing big," he said.

Trains on the South Coast line south of Waterfall were replaced by buses during the afternoon peak hour when lightning caused problems in the area, a RailCorp spokesman said.

Lightning halted trains on the Blue Mountains line near Mt Victoria, with commuters experiencing delays of about 30 minutes.

Drivers also faced delays, with traffic lights around Sydney and Wollongong blacked out.

Sydney flights were delayed because baggage handlers could not go out on the tarmac during the lightning.


The best thing to give to your enemy is forgiveness; to an opponent, tolerance; to a friend, your heart; to your child, a good example; to a father, deference; to your mother, conduct that will make her proud of you; to yourself, respect; to all men, charity. ~ Arthur J. Balfour




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