PHOTOS

All 783 jobs completed by 36 SES units after shire supercell storm

First story published 1.31pm, Monday, January 20. Last update 4pm, Sunday, January 26.

Update

The damage bill from the supercell storm which smashed Sutherland Shire on January 20 has been assessed at about $32 million by the Insurance Council of Australia, which deemed the event a catastrophe.

Thirty-six SES units from Sutherland Shire and other areas of Sydney carried out 783 jobs.

"After an incredible response from volunteers all across Sydney and Wollongong, all jobs have been completed with insurance and recovery efforts taking over," NSW SES advised in an update on Australia Day.

The SES said "the numbers" for the event included:

  • Storm length - 15 minutes
  • Hail size - 1-5cm
  • Peak wind - 110-120km/h
  • Total jobs - 783
  • NSW SES Volunteer Hours used - 220,000
  • Individual Team Taskings - 944
  • NSW SES Units involved - 36
  • Roads cleared - 49
  • Damage bill $32 million (Approx from ICA)
  • Power lost - 14 000 properties at its peak.

Update

A large amount of green waste still needs to be collected four days after a ferocious storm ripped through areas of Sutherland Shire.

The council is providing extra clean-up services, but it appears crews will struggle to complete the collection of fallen tree branches and other storm related green waste by Friday, January 24, which was the end date given by the council when it made the announcement.

An extra green waste bin collection in affected areas will take place on Saturday, January 25.

Update

Three days after the Sutherland Shire was smashed by a ferocious storm, all affected homes and residents have had the power reconnected.

Ausgrid crews completed fixing the last of 350 hazards on Thursday morning.

Coincidentally, there were power outages on Thursday morning in Engadine, Sutherland, Woronora and surrounding suburbs.

"Our crew are working to safely restore power," Ausgrid advised.

No reason was given for the outage.

Update

The last of the more than 13,000 homes and businesses which lost power in this week's supercell storm are expected to be reconnected on Thursday.

Ausgrid had expected to complete the massive exercise on Wednesday night, but revised this about 6pm.

"Most customers in Sydney's south still without power after Monday's late afternoon storms should be safely reconnected tonight," Ausgrid said. "A small number will be restored by midday tomorrow".

SES crews continue the massive clean-up effort.

One family has told how their loveable chocolate Labrador puppy and a lot of luck saved them when when a huge gum tree fell on their home during this week's supercell storm.

Update

The 850 homes and businesses that were still without power this morning after Monday's supercell storm should be reconnected on Wednesday night.

Ausgrid crews from Sydney, the Central Coast and Hunter regions have been working on 350 hazards on the electricity network.

"We're working to have all customers restored tonight," Ausgrid advised.

SES Sutherland Shire said of the 650 jobs received, fifty remained on Wednesday morning.

"A huge effort by our amazing volunteers," a Facebook post said.

"From chainsaw operators, roof and vertical mobility specialist as well as dispatch and control staff it been a combined effort in getting to every job as fast as we can.

"Thank you so much to the incredible residents of the Sutherland Shire, your support has been incredible!"

Update

More than 2200 homes were still without power last night and extra council services are being provided to assist with the clean-up after the ferocious storm which caused widespread damage in Sutherland Shire.

Sutherland Shire Council will provide additional green waste collection, wood chipping and street sweeping services in the hardest hit suburbs, with postcodes 2229 and 2228.

Sutherland Shire SES said on Tuesday night, "It's been another huge day for our volunteers".

"We have had a further 43 teams in the field of over 300 volunteers responding to requests primarily in the Gymea, Menai and Caringbah areas.

"We have received over 600 jobs since 1700 last night and are working as fast as possible to complete as much as possible. We are working heavily with Ausgrid with widespread power problems across a number of our jobs.

"Big shout to @FRNSW for their help in providing us 5 appliances."

Ausgrid advised on Tuesday night 2200 homes and businesses were still without power. Crews have been brought in from the Hunter to help.

One affected resident tweeted, "This is getting beyond a joke. Going on 36 hours without power in Caringbah South.

"No estimate given for restoration, and no work crew in site. Power lines are still dangling in our yard."

Update

Extra crews have been called in from the Hunter to help repair power infrastructure in Sutherland Shire following yesterday's ferocious storm.

Ausgrid said more than 350 hazards were created, including a snapped power pole at Kirrawee.

This morning, crews were still working to restore power to 3700 homes and businesses after 10,000 were reconnected overnight.

Update

Workers are using a crane and cherry picker to remove a large large tree, which fell onto the roof of Sylvania Heights Public School as the cleanup across the shire continues after Monday's severe storm.

The tree smashed the roof of a classroom block.

See the 9 News vision below:

Update

Twenty-five SES teams, along with a NSW Fire & Rescue task force, are continuing to assist with repairs and safety issues after yesterday's ferocious storm.

SES Sutherland Shire advised that, at midday on Tuesday, more than 200 requests for help were outstanding.

"We are working as fast and safely as possible to get to you," SES said in a Facebook post.

"Many of our jobs are extremely large as you can see from this photo, so they are taking time to complete.

"Thank you residents of the Sutherland Shire for your patience and resilience."

Update

A house in Willarong Road, Caringbah South was extensively damaged when a huge tree fell on it during the "supercell storm".

Angelo, a neighbour, said he believed the house was occupied at the time, but no one was injured.

Update Tuesday

Trains are running again on the T4 Illawarra line after yesterday afternoon's fierce storm, but thousands of shire residents spent the night without power.

The "hit and run" storm left a trail of destruction across the shire, producing huge hailstones in some suburbs, bringing down big trees, branches and power lines and creating massive road and rail disruption.

Sutherland Shire SES received 1500 calls for help.

Trains were suspended between Sutherland and Cronulla and many people were caught on trains between stations, some for up to an hour.

A tree fell on a train causing damage, and there was also an obstacle on the tracks at Caringbah.

There were chaotic scenes at Sutherland station where thousands of commuters poured off trains to board replacement buses that took a long time to arrive.

The storm knocked out power at Caringbah station, with no indicator boards or Opal readers working early on Tuesday.

Sutherland Shire SES was flooded with calls for help and received backup from many other units across Sydney.

"WOW! What a storm! While it didn't last long it certainly left it's mark," a Facebook post said last night.

"We are currently being supported by 25 other NSWSES units for a total of 65 teams in the field, all of which are incredible volunteers who have dropped everything to be with us, serving our beautiful Shire."

The SES message on Tuesday morning was: "As the sun rises on the day after we are eagerly getting into the backlog of jobs from yesterdays supercell storm that ravaged our beautiful shire.

"We have units from all over Sydney and Wollongong again coming to assist us in responding to your requests for help.

"Please be patient with us, if you have logged a job, we will get to you! And if the situation has changed in anyway please call 132 500 so your job can be updated and we know what's happening.

Ausgrid advised about 5am on Tuesday power had been restored at Gymea, Kirrawee, Miranda and Yowie Bay.

Power for Kareela and Sylvania residents was restored about 3am, Ausgrid said.

Emergency services were so stretched after the storm, one motorist took matters into his own hands, pulled on a vest and directed traffic at the intersection of Kingsway and Sylvania Road, Miranda.

More to come

Update Monday

Sutherland Shire has been hit hard by a severe thunderstorm this afternoon, which downed trees and powerlines, closed roads and left homes without power.

Motorists battled treacherous conditions on roads in St George and Sutherland Shire this afternoon, with heavy rain causing flash flooding and widespread road closures.

Police, Fire and Rescue NSW and NSW Ambulance are tonight responding to reports of people trapped in cars, while the State Emergency Service (SES) is also responding to calls for assistance.

There are reports up to three people were trapped in a car that was crushed by falling branches on President Avenue, Miranda. At least one person was transported to hospital.

At Westfield Miranda, escalators and lifts stopped operating and some shops were left without power. Skylights looked like they might collapse under the weight of heavy rain.

Tradies at Gymea was forced to close its doors.

Trains between Sutherland and Cronulla were cancelled, with commuters faced with long queues for replacement buses.

More to come.

Earlier

A severe thunderstorm warning remains in place for Sydney this afternoon.

Sydneysiders were warned to batten down the hatches after a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for a large part of the state stretching from the Hunter to the far South Coast and out west to the Riverina and Central Tablelands at 12.30pm today.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued the warning for widespread thunderstorm activity that was expected to bring damaging, locally destructive winds, giant hailstones and heavy rain, which could cause flash flooding over the next few hours.

The storm caused havoc in the Blue Mountains, where two tourists were taken to hospital following lightning strikes. A boy, 16, and a man, 24, were injured at the Giant Stairway Walking Track at about 2pm.

It then cut a swathe through south-western and western Sydney, dumping rain and hail.

Canberra also bore the brunt of the storm, which hit the Australian capital around lunchtime, bringing golf-ball sized hailstones and wind gusts of more than 110kmh, resulting in more than 1200 calls for help to the Emergency Services Agency.

Earlier

Sydneysiders are being warned to batten down the hatches after a severe thunderstorm warning was issued for a large part of the state stretching from the Hunter to the far South Coast and out west to the Riverina and Central Tablelands.

The Australian Bureau of Meteorology issued the warning at 12.30pm today for widespread thunderstorm activity, which is expected to bring damaging, locally destructive winds, giant hailstones and heavy rain, which could cause flash flooding over the next few hours.

The predicted thunderstorms are a result of a low-pressure system over inland NSW, which is drawing humid air across eastern parts of the state before it is expected to gradually move to the Tasman Sea later tonight.

The State Emergency Service (SES) advises people to:

  • Move your car undercover or away from trees
  • Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony
  • Keep at least eight metres away from fallen powerlines or objects that may be energised, such as fences
  • Report fallen powerlines to your power supplier
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains
  • Don't walk, ride your bike or drive through floodwater
  • If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring triple-0 if you need rescuing
  • Unplug computers and appliances
  • Avoid using the phone during the storm
  • Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors.

The NSW SES Kogarah unit last week reminded residents not to drive, walk or ride through floodwater after volunteers witnessed motorists entering a flooded section of the Princes Highway at Kogarah Bay after heavy rain caused flash flooding last week.