Ten dead in Australia thunderstorms, thousands without power

SYDNEY: Ten people were killed in Australia after severe thunderstorms battered the country’s east over the Christmas holidays, authorities said on Wednesday (Dec 27), with tens of thousands of properties still without power.

Wild weather lashed the states of Victoria, New South Wales and Queensland on Dec 25 and Dec 26 bringing large hailstones and torrential rains. Strong winds blew off roofs and brought down trees in some of the worst-affected areas. More than 90,000 households are still without power.

Three men were killed after a yacht with 11 onboard capsized near Green Island in Moreton Bay during the storm, Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carrol told reporters.

Two women were found dead near the town of Gympie, about 180km north of the state capital of Brisbane after they were swept away in flooded stormwater drains, police said. A nine-year-old girl was found dead after going missing in a stormwater drain in Brisbane’s south.

Authorities warned that fast-rising rivers and streams could burst banks inundating campgrounds, which usually become crowded during the Christmas and New Year weeks.

A man was found dead in a campground in Victoria after flash flooding, police said. He was believed to have been camping there with a woman who was found dead on Tuesday.

Two were killed by falling trees.

The storm took down a concrete power line, which was “pretty significant and unprecedented”, Queensland Premier Steven Miles said during a media briefing. Miles said the damage from Cyclone Jasper, which hit the state earlier this month, and the latest thunderstorms could be in “the billions”.

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