The Australian Bureau of Meteorology said the destructive winds hit around 10:30am (AEDT) on 16th December, and measured up to 213 kilometres per hour, while some areas were pelted with golf ball-sized hail stones.
Authorities say it is very fortunate no-one was seriously injured in a tornado that tore along Sydney’s southern coast, ripping off roofs and leaving some residents with “nothing”.
New South Wales Fire and Rescue Superintendent Ian Krimmer said the weather event had been “unprecedented”.
Forecaster Michael Logan said the wind speeds recorded were “up there” with the fastest ever registered in the Sydney area.
“We don’t get situations like that without it being a tornado,” he said.
“It is what’s called a super cell thunderstorm and they’re one of the most dangerous thunderstorms we get.”
Video courtesy of ABC News (Australia)
Kurnell resident Beverley Bultitude was at home when the tornado hit and said it developed suddenly.
“Outside, it was as black as anything,” she said.
“All of a sudden there was a bit of wind and then it hit and when it hit, it hit hard.
“Everything was just spinning, spinning around … it was like shrapnel, that’s the only way I could describe it.”
She said she was inside her home at the time as the tornado “roared”.
Sue Pritchard from the State Emergency Service said its efforts are now focused on the clean-up.
“We have 50 teams in the field at the moment that are responding to these requests for assistance, I’ll be having teams working through the night as people come home to find that there’s been damage done to their properties,” Ms Pritchard said.