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Thousands without power as severe thunderstorm batters NSW

Sydney, Australia: Thousands of people were left without power as severe thunderstorms sweep through parts of Sydney and the Illawarra on Tuesday evening.

Fast-moving storms have already brought damaging winds to across several communities in the Illawarra and Central Tablelands regions.

Thousands of people in those areas are also without power, according to Essential Energy.

In Sydney, power is out in some areas including Beecroft, Cheltenham, Engadine, Camperdown, Darlington and Enmore, according to Ausgrid.

There have been reports of hail and a wind gust of 102kph in Bowral.

Residents in Greater Wollongong and Sydney, as well as those in the Blue Mountains, have been told to brace for damaging winds and large hail as the storms approach.

Severe thunderstorms were first detected on the weather radar around 5.20 pm, the BoM said.

The storms are moving east and northeast and are set to affect Hornsby, Parramatta and Richmond by 7.05 pm and Sydney’s CBD, Olympic Park, Mona Vale and Bondi by 7.35 pm.

Residents are advised to move cars away from trees and secure loose backyard items.

A more general severe thunderstorm warning is also in place for Sydney, the Illawarra, Central Tablelands and parts of Hunter, Southern Tablelands and Central West Slopes and Plains Forecast Districts.

The Bureau of Meteorology has warned the storms were detected on the weather radar near Sutherland and Penrith at 6.35 pm. “These thunderstorms are moving towards the east,” it said.

“They are forecast to affect Hornsby, Parramatta and Richmond by 7:05 pm and Sydney City, Sydney Olympic Park, the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Mona Vale and waters off Bondi Beach by 7:35 pm.

“Damaging winds and large hailstones are likely.”

It warned residents in affected areas to secure or put away loose items around their house, yard and balcony.

The weather forecast further warned that eastern Australia is in the grip of a “pretty remarkable” weather event with a burst of heat lingering around the interior and the possibility of yet more temperature records to tumble.

A string of towns in western New South Wales are creeping up towards the 50C mark. Bourke could break 48C on Tuesday which would only be a whisker away from its highest temperature since modern records began at the site in 1910.

It comes just days after Sydney hit its hottest November overnight temperature as well as an unparalleled two-day run of heat.

Sydney and Brisbane could be toasty again with both city’s western suburbs rising towards and in some cases exceeding 40C. But the cool change that has galloped through further south should keep many other capitals cooler.

“While heatwaves are normal for this time of year, what’s making this burst of heat exceptional is temperatures 18-20C above average and many locations breaking records,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster Dean Narramore said.

There are warnings that Tuesday could lead to the ideal conditions for thunderstorm asthma to develop with potential storms rolling up the NSW coast. And the hot weather is also ramping up fire weather warnings further inland.