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Mayhem In Sydney As Powerful Storms Smash City

Tens of thousands of homes and businesses across Sydney have been left without power after fast-moving thunderstorms swept through the city on Tuesday afternoon.

The state's leading electricity distributor, Ausgrid, said power had been cut to more than 48,000 homes and businesses after the strong storms brought down wires and trees across the city.

Power has since been restored to 4,000 customers but Ausgrid warned people in affected areas across Sydney should prepare for "extended outages" on Tuesday night.

"Emergency crews will work through the night to focus on making safe life threatening hazards such as powerlines," an Ausgrid spokesperson said.

Tree down near Forest Way at Belrose. Image: Ausgrid

Areas most affected include Frenchs Forest, Roseville, Allambie Heights, Gordon, North Narrabeen, Lindfield, Mount Colah, Epping, Chatswood, Elanora Heights, Hornsby Heights, Forestville, East Lindfield, Pymble, East Killara, Willoughby, Castle Cove, Davidson, Castlecrag, Sylvania, Oyster Bay, Greenacre, Galston, Kareela, Warriewood, Berowra Heights and  Berowra.

Ausgrid said the main outage areas in the Central Coast and Lake Macquarie regions were Cooranbong, Martinsville and Warnervale.

"Many large trees have also come down on powerlines and fallen branches could hide electrical hazards such as fallen wires," Ausgrid said in a statement.

"Those who rely on a continuous power supply for medical or life support equipment should consider activating their back up plans."

"Customers should prepare now to be without power for dinner tonight and should make other arrangements where possible."

Endeavour Energy also said at least 25,000 of its customers had been left without power in Sydney's west after close to 200 electrical hazards occurred as a result of the storm.

By 6:30pm, power had been restored to 20,000 customers with the majority of the remaining outages in the Macarthur and Hawkesbury regions.

"Power is currently out to all customers supplied from major substations at Macquarie Fields & Wisemans Ferry," Endeavour said.

Damage at Frenchs Forest in Sydney's north. Image: Twitter/marty386

The severe storms swept through the city about lunchtime on Tuesday bringing with it gusty winds of up to 90 kilometres an hour at Holsworthy and Horsley Park.

Some areas including the Sutherland Shire also saw patches of hail fall.

A trampoline has gone flying from a backyard at Hornsby Heights. Image: Amy Condren/Supplied
Damage at Hornsby Heights. Image: Ausgrid

Videos and photos shared to social media in the aftermath showed damage to homes and cars.

The Bureau of Meteorology said thunderstorms were expected to move very quickly across the region with strong winds, a burst of rain and some hail.

After smashing through Sydney, the storms moved towards the Central Coast and Hunter regions.

At the same time, the Great Hunter area was issued with a fire weather warning due to the hot and dry conditions.

While the storms have mostly moved away from the city, the damage left traffic chaos for commuters during the afternoon peak.

Trains have now resumed between Gordon and Hornsby on the Northern line after a tree fell on the tracks at Gordon station earlier, but transport authorities warned that delays would continue.

Trains remained suspended between Hornsby and Berowra after urgent power supply repairs were required at Hornsby with replacement buses sent to help.

The centre urged passengers to delay their trips where possible and allow for extra travel time.

Two northbound lanes were also closed on the Pacific Highway at Pymble in the city's north shore after a tree fell on the road near Mona Vale Rd.

Traffic lights were also out in nearby Roseville.

Motorists were also asked to allow plenty of extra travel time in Sydney's east at Bondi after a tree fell on the road at Curlewis St.

Contact the author: vgerova@networkten.com.au