Australia’s east coast battered by cyclone-like storm

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ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION STORY: A cyclonic storm battered Australia’s east coast on Tuesday (April 21) killing three people, washing away houses, cutting power to more than 200,000 homes and

Australia’s east coast battered by cyclone-like storm

ROUGH CUT. NO REPORTER NARRATION

STORY: A cyclonic storm battered Australia’s east coast on Tuesday (April 21) killing three people, washing away houses, cutting power to more than 200,000 homes and stranding a cruise ship off the coast in mountainous seas.

Destructive winds of up to 135 kph (85 mph) uprooted trees, some crushing cars, snapped power poles, tore down building awnings and scaffolding, and even overturned a car.

Huge waves, reaching 11.2 metres (33 feet) offshore, pounded beaches. Rail links to the north and south of Sydney were cut and many roads in Australia’s largest city were flooded.

New South Wales (NSW) state premier Mike Baird said conditions were forecast to become even worse and asked workers to head home as soon as possible.

“We have lost some homes. There’s a number of homes have been lost in this. There is a number of roofs that have been taken off and we have also lost life. It is a huge storm event that is wreaking havoc across New South Wales at the moment.,” he said.

Transport authorities advised Sydney residents that all “non-essential travel” should be avoided until the weather eased. Some hospitals without power reportedly had to rely on generators and some 25 schools were closed.

The deluge saw Sydney receive nearly a month’s worth of rain in 24 hours, data from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology showed.

The New South Wales State Emergency Service (SES) said it had received more than 3,000 calls for help and had to carry out 19 flood rescues, including one of an elderly woman in the town of Stroud, just over 200 km (125 miles) north of Sydney. The woman was in critical condition after she was rescued.

The destructive storm off the coast just north of Sydney whipped up giant seas that closed many beaches, including world-famous Bondi Beach. An oceanic weather buoy off Sydney measured waves reaching 11.2 metres (33 feet) overnight.

The wild weather closed parts of Sydney Harbour, forcing a cruise ship with some 2,500 passengers to wait off the coast, battered by big swells. Ships entering the harbour must be escorted by a harbour pilot, but the wild weather prevented them from boarding the cruise ship to steer it into port.

The port authority said Sydney Harbour could be closed to commercial shipping for the next 48 hours.

Tags : storm, Cyclonelike, Battered, coast, east, Australias

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