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Sydney weather: Calm conditions ahead as tornado clean-up continues in Kurnell

Record winds: The storm caused extensive damage in Kurnell. Photo: Peter Rae Kurnell was pummelled by 213km/h wind gusts on Wednesday. Photo: Westpac Rescue Helicopter
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A storm cell moves along the coast at Narrabeen on Sydney’s northern beaches on Wednesday. Photo: Nick Moir

As it happened: tornado hits cityWhat causes tornadoes?Record winds rip through Sydney

Sydneysiders can expect much calmer and stable weather conditions in coming days as the massive clean-up operation continues in the city’s southern suburbs, which were pummelled by destructive winds of up to 213km/h on Wednesday.

“There won’t be any tornadoes,” said Craig McIntosh, a meteorologist at Weatherzone, of Thursday’s forecast.

“Today in Sydney is going to be a lot calmer than yesterday’s crazy weather. It’s heading for a top of 26 degrees in the city, a maximum of 29 degrees in our west.

“There will be a chance of showers but definitely a lot calmer than the wild, woolly weather we saw yesterday, and the winds will be a lot less.”

North-westerly winds reaching up to 30km/h were forecast for Thursday, he said.

The brunt of Wednesday’s storm was felt in the southern beachside suburb of Kurnell, which was declared a disaster zone after it was lashed with record breaking winds of 213km/h, heavy rain and golf-ball sized hail.

Authorities said it was fortunate the destructive storm only clipped the city’s southern suburbs and moved out to sea, rather than continuing on to Sydney Airport and further into the metropolitan area.

Roads into Kurnell remained blocked off on Thursday morning, and police allowed only workers and residents into the area.

The area is still littered with debris, and SES workers, who received more than 650 calls for assistance during the storms, are continuing to cut down trees that have fallen across roads, yards and cars.

Police warned residents returning to their damaged homes to be cautious of disturbing debris, as there was a possibility asbestos was present. A NSW Police spokesman said homes built before 1987 were particularly at risk.

Ausgrid spokesman Anthony O’Brien said 800 properties remained without power in Kurnell, where the electricity infrastructure was “completely devastated”.

The roof of the Kurnell substation was partially torn off and power lines that feed the substation were damaged, while power poles and wires across the suburb were damaged. About 90 per cent of the service wires that connect to powerlines to homes in Kurnell were also brought down or ripped from the boards, he said.

Some homes could be reconnected to power on Thursday, however the repair job could continue into the weekend. Ausgrid is hoping to notify residents by midday on Thursday of the estimated times that their homes will be reconnected.

Westfield Bondi Junction said the shopping centre would open as normal on Thursday, a day after shoppers were evacuated when the roof partially caved in.

“The centre will be trading normal hours from [Thursday] and we will continue to keep you updated,” the centre said in a statement.

The midnight screening of the new Star Wars film was cancelled at Event Cinemas Bondi Junction due to damage to the centre.

Event Cinemas said all sessions up to and including midday on Thursday had been cancelled due to storm damage.

“If you have booked a session online, you will be receiving an email from our customer service team shortly,” Event Cinemas said in a statement.

“We will provide updates for sessions post 12pm as soon as new information comes to hand. Thank you for your patience and understanding during this time.”

Mr McIntosh said Sydney was expecting settled conditions across the weekend with a string of sunny days.

A top of 29 degrees has been forecast in the city on Friday, 30 degrees on Saturday and 31 degrees on Sunday.

Weatherzone is owned by Fairfax Media, publisher of this website.

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