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Rare tornado swirls through Sydney

Records winds and large hailstones marked an uncharacteristic summer morning in Sydney. Meteorologists called the storm a "tornado-like" event.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said it recorded the strongest-ever recorded winds in New South Wales in the Sydney suburb of Kurnell, with the strongest gust reaching 213 kmh (132 mph). While a classic "Wizard of Oz" funnel tornado was not present, meteorologists in Australia are speaking of a "tornado-like event."

Along with the wind came rain and hail. A weather station 200 kilometers down the coast from Sydney recorded 14 cm (5.5 inches) of rain in a 50-minute period. "The West Australian" newspaper tweeted a picture of a large hailstone that fell in Sydney.

Kurnell bore the brunt of the storm, with police reporting that the area is without power and sewage as a result. The damage from the storm is clearly visible on homes and on city streets.

The storm was so bad that the New South Wales police encouraged people to leave work as soon as possible to avoid a traffic backlog on debris-strewn streets at the normal end of the workday.

mz/sms (AFP, dpa, Reuters)

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