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Sydney storm brings strong winds to Qld

Saturday February 2, 2013 - 02:02 EDT

Severe storms have swept through Sydney and up the New South Wales coast, bringing down trees, cutting power and causing localised flooding.

The storm cell the moved into south-east Queensland where it hit the state with 90kph winds.

Earlier at Sydney Airport, a Qantas plane arriving from Cairns escaped damage when it was struck by lightning.

Domestic and international flights were delayed for up to an hour, with some cancellations due to the wild weather.

There were also delays across the bus and rail networks.

The State Emergency Service received more than 320 calls for help, mainly for minor damage.

"We are getting reports of trees and branches down as well as some localised flash flooding, but so far no significant property damage," spokesman Phil Campbell said.

Mr Campbell says the SES also conducted a successful operation to get a stranded resident of Yamba on the north coast to her 80th birthday party.

He says it began when an SES operator, named Paula, was told that people from all over Australia were waiting for the woman in Sydney.

"Paula was able to arrange for some flood boats to able to transport the lady to the nearest place where she could be flown - that was at Maclean," he said.

"She was then transported by helicopter into Grafton where the local SES were able to drop her at the railway station, and she was given a first-class ticket to Sydney to be able to join her family and friends."

The number of people isolated by floodwaters on the north coast has now dropped from 7,000 to 2,000, with access to Yamba now open.

Meanwhile, a clean-up is underway in the state's central west after storms earlier this afternoon brought strong winds, heavy rainfall and hail to parts of Orange and Bathurst.

The SES has responded to more than 30 calls for help in the region and expects that number to rise tonight as people get home from work and discover the damage.

A spokesperson says the damage includes flooding, leaking roofs and trees and powerlines down.

The same weather system also affected southern Queensland, bringing damaging winds but little rain.


- ABC

© ABC 2013

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