Sydney weather: man killed by flying gas bottle as NSW storms cut power to thousands
A man is dead, thousands of people are without power and transport services are disrupted on Wednesday morning after thunderstorms wreaked havoc across Sydney and coastal regions, just weeks after record downpours caused major flooding.
Damaging winds of about 110km/h hit North Head, with other areas also blasted by gusts over 100km/h on Tuesday night.
A 37-year-old man died after being hit by an airborne gas bottle that struck him around midnight when he was walking in Harrington Street in The Rocks.
Police performed CPR and he was rushed to St Vincent’s Hospital where he died from his injuries.
Police said during a press conference on Wednesday morning that the 9kg gas bottle was likely to have been blown from a balcony in a nearby apartment building.
“This is a freak accident and a tragedy for this man’s family and friends,” NSW Ambulance superintendent Kath Rallings said in a statement on Wednesday.
“The man was unconscious when paramedics arrived and he then went into cardiac arrest.
“While this is appears to be a one-in-a-million accident, please do not underestimate these wild weather conditions.”
A crime scene has been established on Harrington Street and investigators have appealed for anyone with information to come forward.
The Bureau of Meteorology said thunderstorms were likely to continue during the early hours of Wednesday in central NSW before moving towards the north-east by the afternoon.
Transport for NSW said commuters on the North Shore line should plan their trips, with delays expected on several routes affected by a fallen tree at Pymble.
Other passengers were expected to be affected as lifts at several stations were out of service.
Endeavour Energy said electricity cuts were affecting 24,000 of its customers after power lines were brought down in north-west Sydney and the Hawkesbury region on Tuesday night, with 270 electrical hazards needing repairs.
Ausgrid said its power network had been damaged by the intense lightning storm in Sydney, with 72,000 properties left without electricity.
At Terrey Hills, the roof was ripped off the local golf club, with fire crews attending to help the SES.
NSW SES spokesman Jason Simms told ABC radio that volunteers had been called to 600 jobs in the Sydney metropolitan area since 9pm on Tuesday, with most requests for assistance related to downed trees and branches.
The bureau predicted winds would strengthen throughout the day but heavy rainfall was unlikely due to fast-moving thunderstorms.
Cooler weather conditions were expected as a cold front moved through NSW from south-east parts of the country.
A dry air mass means southern parts of NSW could have temperatures drop below 20C, particularly in the southern ranges and south coast region.
Western NSW regions were not expected to have any significant rainfall over the next few days.
Gale warnings were in place for the Eden coast and strong wind warnings for the Macquarie coast, Hunter coast, Illawarra coast and Batemans coast.
Hazardous surf warnings were also in place for the Illawarra coast, Batemans coast and Eden coast, with the NSW police marine area command advising people to consider staying out of the water.