Weather: Sydney man killed by airborne gas bottle in ferocious storm

A 37-year-old man is dead after a ferocious storm in Sydney blew a gas bottle onto his head from above.

The storm brought tens of thousands of strikes of lightning and destructive gale-force winds, and left 80,000 homes without power.

In the Sydney neighbourhood of The Rocks, powerful gusts proved fatal - blowing a gas bottle off a building and killing a man who was walking below.

"It's a freak incident," says Detective Inspector David El Badawi. "He's just left a licensed premises nearby.

"He was just having a few drinks with his mates."

With winds gusting more than 100 kilometres per hour, buildings and homes had their roofs blown off.

Trees were uprooted, blocking roads and crushing cars. 

"We had the strong winds for all of two [or] three minutes," resident Zacki Russell says. "You can just see the damage that's been done in a short time. 

"Unbelievable."

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