Tornado smashes Armidale as severe storms and hailstones hit NSW, Vic


Cars were flipped and roofs torn off houses after a wild tornado smashed through the NSW city of Armidale on Thursday night in a day of wild weather in the southern states.

The NSW SES received 111 calls for help in Armidale as residents were also trapped in their homes when the random weather event tore through the Northern Tablelands city at about 10pm.

Earlier in the afternoon, fast-moving storms pummelled Greater Sydney, dumping golf-ball sized hail and buckets of rain across the city and causing the ceiling to collapse inside the Westfield shopping centre at Mount Druitt.

Across the state, the SES responded to more than 450 calls for assistance.

It wasn’t just NSW in the firing line as the north-west Victorian town of Pira near Swan Hill was blanketed in hailstones that looked like snow after a storm warning was issued for that part of the state that could cause flash flooding.

On Thursday afternoon, the Bureau of Meteorology issued a tornado warning for Sydney as the “really dangerous” storm passed over the metropolis.

Golf ball-sized hail. Photo: Twitter

The storms were most intense over Sydney and the Lower Hunter, but hail was reported all the way between Sydney and Cowra in the state’s central west.

Those stones mostly measured between three and five centimetres, but some were even larger.

The conditions over western Sydney were particularly serious, with meteorologists seeing all the ingredients for a “very, very dangerous supercell”, said the Bureau of Meteorology’s Gabrielle Woodhouse.

Ms Woodhouse said the storm was “really dangerous”.

Some 33mm of rain fell at Woodville Golf Course at Canterbury in about a quarter of an hour.

By Thursday evening, the most dangerous storm had passed out to sea, but the bureau is still warning of threatening storms in the Sydney area and advises residents to monitor the radar on its website.

Early-morning thunderstorms deposited up to 30mm on parts of Canberra, with more likely Thursday evening.

-with AAP


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