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The Sydney hailstorm has been declared a catastrophe

Olivia Gee

Last night, the NSW coast was battered with hail that would easily match a mean cricket ball in a fair fight. Severe storms were reported from the Central Coast down to Kiama in the south, with icy stones up to 8cm in diameter accosting areas like Berowra on the upper North Shore and pelting out to Western Suburbs like Oran Park, Harrington Park and Casula.

In Sydney, the hail onslaught started in the west at around 5pm and was ravaging the inner city suburbs within an hour. Some in Redfern put the buckets of sky ice to good use.

Photograph: Instagram/@visionof.johanna

But the outcome for most was much less merry. Tens of thousands of homes from the Blue Mountains, through Sydney’s Western Suburbs and up to the Hawkesbury were left without power, and 62 flights out of Sydney Airport were cancelled, with 90-minute delays in the domestic terminal and three-hour set backs for international travellers. Sydney homes saw major roof damage, there were stoppages across the Sydney train network and smashed car windscreens were all the rage.

Photograph: Jack Shit

By 7.30pm, the Insurance Council of Australia had declared the deluge a catastrophe, with damage costs estimated to be in the tens of millions. The full impact of the storm will become clear in the coming days, as more insurance claims are added to the 15,000 already logged.   

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