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Freak storms damage hundreds of homes

Sunday February 24, 2013 - 14:57 EDT
ABC image
A trampoline became entangled in power lines as the storms tore through Sydney. - ABC

Hundreds of homes have been damaged by a freak weather system that tore a path of destruction through parts of Sydney and the Illawarra region last night.

The Bureau of Meteorology says two heavy weather systems met in a narrow band along the east coast.

The result was heavy rain and winds gusting close to 100 kilometres an hour, causing major damage, but only in a handful of suburbs.

Narrellan in the south and Malabar in the south-east, as well as Kiama in the Illawarra, were hit hard.

The SES says it received more than 1,000 calls for help from the greater Sydney region.



Spokeswoman Becky Gollings says Randwick was also badly affected, as well as parts of the south-western suburbs.

"All up since the weather started affecting Sydney yesterday we've had around 1,300 jobs," she said.

"Most of those have been for damage to roofs and trees down and some leaking roofs as well, but we certainly expect that number to increase throughout the day as people discover more damage to their homes."


Across Narellan, 90 homes were damaged, including one home where two bedrooms were destroyed. About 70 homes were hit at Malabar.

Malabar residents say they have been warned to stay inside because of asbestos in a roof that was torn off the local RSL club.

"[We're] supposed to be staying inside. You're not supposed to go up there but we're just checking a few things out," one resident told the ABC.

"They just said stay indoors, keep the doors shut and windows shut, but we don't know much more.

"We've got our kids outside so we've don't know how we're going to get two of our kids."

Roofs damaged

At Kiama, in the Illawarra, 75 properties were damaged, including parts of the roof of Kiama's fire station that blew away.

Albion Park resident Pierre Farrugia says the roof of his house is significantly damaged.

"We woke up to a very, very big bang," he said.

"Absolutely no idea what it was. No idea. Never heard anything like that ever before.

"All the tiles from on top of our roof are all through the back garden, scattered everywhere, and we've lost a few of the beams as well through the actual roof too.

"But the hole is our main concern ... We've got about a four-metre hole on our roof.

"Walked outside and all we saw were trees on the ground. We've got two big pine trees - well, not anymore."

Power cuts

Around 8,000 homes remain without power across Sydney and the central coast and authorities are warning people it could take much of the day to fix.

Ausgrid says extensive damage was caused to the electricity network from the strong winds and heavy trains overnight, with large trees and other debris bringing down power lines and flooding underground substations.

Earlier today 10,000 homes were without power.

Ausgrid spokesman Anthony O'Brien says steady progress is being made in repairing the damage but new reports have also come in throughout the morning, affecting areas to the south of Sydney and in the east.

He apologised for the delays and appealed for patience.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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