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Wild weather in NSW claims two lives, leaves trail of destruction

Sunday 24 Feb 2013 5:48 p.m.

Wild weather has left a trail of destruction in the Australian state of New South Wales.

Two people have died, properties have been damaged and thousands have had to evacuate their homes.

The major storm system passed through Sydney last night. Roofs were ripped from houses, trees uprooted. Garden sheds didn't stand a chance.

In the suburb of Malabar in South Eastern Sydney, there were reports of mini tornados. Damage happened in a matter of minutes – so quickly residents didn't know what was going on.

Up to 20,000 people have had to flee their homes on the New South Wales coast because of flooding. People have been rescued from cars and houses.

There have been two deaths. Seventeen-year-old Luke O'Neill drowned while searching for golf balls in flood waters when he was sucked down a storm drain. A man's body was also found inside his submerged car in Grafton.

Part of the Pacific Highway – one of Australia's busiest roads – could be closed for up to five days and many are still without electricity.

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