Sydney, Australia, Dec 26 (EFE).- Severe storms struck eastern Australia, causing at least one death and widespread power outages as torrential rains, hailstorms, and hurricane-force winds battered much of the country’s east coast, authorities said Tuesday.
A Victorian man has died after being struck by a fallen tree branch in the east after storms lashed the state, the state-run ABC News said.
“It is understood a tree branch fell on the man at a private property on Rusks Road just after 9 a.m.,” a Victoria police statement said.
A 59-year-old woman on the Gold Coast died Monday night when she was struck by a fallen tree.
“Our hearts absolutely go out to the family of a 59-year-old female who died last night when a tree fell on the car that she was traveling in,” Assistant Commissioner Gold Coast Region Andrew Hebbron said.
“There was some heavy rainfall. We had some reports of 70 millimetres falling in the space of an hour.”
The storms uprooted several trees, damaging homes, blocking roads, and disrupting power lines, leaving around 124,000 people without electricity on Christmas night. Restoration efforts are underway.
The weather forecast predicts continued heavy rains, potential floods, hailstorms, and winds up to 90 km in the affected areas.
Amusement parks, including Movie World and Dream World, have closed, and the storm is expected to impact the traditional Sydney-Hobart regatta.
Recent storms have also caused flooding in Sydney and isolated communities in Queensland.
Queensland Premier Steven Miles said the storm was unprecedented. “This is the first time we have seen a storm so intense that it has taken down concrete power poles.”
Despite the current El Niño-induced dry climate, Australia faces a season of heavy rains on its east coast, posing challenges exacerbated by global warming.
Last week, dozens of remote Australian communities were left isolated in the far north of Queensland state following flooding caused by Cyclone Jasper. EFE