Fatal NSW thunderstorm followed heatwave


A turbulent summer is rolling on across the Tasman, with an intense heatwave followed by a severe fatal thunderstorm.

The storm swept across New South Wales, toppling trees, cutting power to thousands of homes and destroying a new suburb.

A man was killed when a fallen tree crushed his car; the female driver was taken to hospital with serious injuries.

It was as if the house was made of matchsticks. It collapsed in seconds, like so many houses around it - a brand new Sydney suburb back to square one.

There was nothing for owners and builders to do but watch in disbelief.

Down the road, more established homes were also crushed from trees ripped out of the ground and tossed indiscriminately.

The toll could have been much worse, with so many other cars and homes badly damaged.

"It only took like a minute, wind was gusting through like a cyclone so we ended up racing inside to get some sort of protection and then started hearing all the trees falling," says resident Alex Bird.

"I don't get scared of much but that actually frightened me a lot."

It took just a few seconds for a brick wall to collapse.

A storage facility also fell apart but no one was inside.

"Ah like a tornado, sitting in the front factory, just heard a noise, watched the front of the factory go, the wall just let go," says resident Mel Bird.

The thunderstorm followed an intense heatwave. It rolled in quickly last night.

At least 80,000 homes lost power. Emergency services received more than 2000 calls for help.

The clean-up has now begun in 22degC temperature, about half what it was yesterday. 

3 News