Super storm cell sweeps across Australia

Emergency services on Allfords Point Rd in Menai which was cut by flood waters resulting in a car being stuck and its occupants having to be rescued as severe storms lash southern Sydney (AAP)
Emergency services on Allfords Point Rd in Menai which was cut by flood waters resulting in a car being stuck and its occupants having to be rescued as severe storms lash southern Sydney (AAP)

A deadly super storm cell has swept across Australia's east coast, leaving one man dead.

It also provided a spectacular lightning show.

A Sydney road flooded by fast-rising water trapped one woman. She was one of 12 rescued in the middle of the night.

But up the road in Hervey Bay, there was nothing rescuers could do for a man in his 60s, killed in his caravan by a fallen tree.

"It was almost like a sandstorm as well," says witness Jake Hogan. "The wind came out of nowhere, just picked up crazy. Sand was just going everywhere. We just heard heaps of banging and stuff, looked out, trees were falling down; it was crazy."

The super storm cell brought trees down right along the Australia's east coast. Some were ripped out of the ground by their roots.

It's left thousands of residents without power.

"It was like a tornado went through the place," says Blaxland resident Justin Willcocks. "The train line's not fair away from here, and it just sounded like the train skipped the tracks and was running through the property."

Last night's spectacular lightning show was just as deafening. Thousands of bolts lit up the sky. The show went on all night and day.

On the west coast, residents are preparing for Cyclone Stan, which is bearing down on the Pilbara coast. It should reach a category three before making landfall tonight.

It is hard to believe this is summer in what's known as the sunburnt country. There's no sign of any sun – just driving rain, strong winds and a darkened skyline – an umbrella now the ultimate summer accessory.

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