Monday, December 10, 2007

Hail 'bigger than golf balls' pummels Sydney

By ninemsn staff

Hail stones "bigger than golf balls" pummelled Sydney this afternoon as a violent thunderstorm swept across the city's western and northern suburbs, injuring at least 30 people.

The storm unleashed winds gusts of 90km/h, according to forecast website, and followed Friday's fierce storm that flooded the city's CBD and caused the death of one man.

In the Rooty Hill culdesac safety manager Frank Micallef calls home, five car windscreens were "smashed" today as hail stones up to 8cm in diameter fell non-stop for more than 20 minutes.

"My car has got more hits than Elvis," Mr Micallef told ninemsn.

"[The hail storm] was so loud, my wife and I couldn't hear the TV. We couldn't even talk to each other."

"It was just terrible," he said. Mr Micallef said thunder and heavy rain hit about 3.30pm, and then came the deluge of hail.

"It went really dark," he said. "As quick as it came, was as quick as it went."

The storm started from a cluster of smaller systems that developed south of the Blue Mountains in the early afternoon, according to Weatherzone.

These storms reached the city's outer southeastern suburbs, where they rapidly intensified and organised into one large storm.

Known as a "supercell" storm, this large system brought the destructive hail and wind that damaged property and felled trees.

At least 30 people were treated by ambulance officers for cuts and bruises suffered in the storm, a spokesperson for the service said.

Ambulances rushed to Kemps Creek in the city's west after the storm tore apart a kitchen tea party, National Nine News reported. Four of the guests were taken to hospital.

"I've never seen anything like it. I'm still in shock," one guest told Nine.

At Glenhaven, trees were blown over onto cars.

Gerald Wan, a 58-year-old fund manager from Cherrywood in the city's north-west, said the hail stones that fell outside his house were "bigger than golf balls".

"When the stones hit the ground they bounced off in every direction like bullets."

"It was pretty painful when they hit you."

Mr Wan said it hailed non-stop for about 20 minutes. "It was pretty frightening."

Commerce student Rachael Ong, who also lives in western Sydney, said the hail started off pretty small "and then these massive chunks started coming down".

"We could hear these massive thumps on the roof."

Ms Ong said she and her family were scared for the car. "We only just made it inside before it started hailing."

Flights at Sydney airport were disrupted by the storm and this afternoon a spokesman said further delays were possible.

A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said the storm was expected to move out to sea following the deluge of rain, hail and damaging winds on the Central Coast.

"There's been quite a swath of large hail," he said.

"(We've had) lots of reports of hail of golf-ball size, we've had a few reports of hail up to seven centimetres in a couple of places."

A general thunderstorm warning was in place for much of NSW until about 8pm, including Port Macquarie, Taree, Newcastle, Armidale, Tamworth and Moree.

... my my my...

1 comment:

Chalsie said...

People should read this.