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Tornado tears through regional NSW, injuring three people, damaging properties near Bathurst

ABC NEWS logo ABC NEWS 30/09/2021

Three people have been injured after a tornado ripped through NSW's Central West this afternoon, damaging properties and leaving a 30km trail of destruction.

David Hagney's home at Clear Creek, near Bathurst, was damaged when the tornado struck about 2:00pm.

He estimated 300 trees had been ripped from the ground around his property.

A tornado has blown over trees and torn down powerlines in an area from Clear Creek, near Bathurst, to Meadow Flat, near Lithgow.  (Supplied: Stephen Williams) © Provided by ABC NEWS A tornado has blown over trees and torn down powerlines in an area from Clear Creek, near Bathurst, to Meadow Flat, near Lithgow.  (Supplied: Stephen Williams)

"It just all went grey and there was limbs flying through the air, and it just basically hit us ... it was so fast," he said.

"There were tree branches, tin, iron, things flying everywhere."

Trees landed on Mr Hagney's house, and destroyed two cars.

He and his family watched the tornado from inside their house.

"If this was a giant it was like he just grabbed hold of the trees, screwed them up and threw them on the ground," he said.

"We just stood in amazement waiting for it to stop. The good thing is we are OK."

Bureau of Metereology (BoM) senior climatologist Agata Imielska confirmed there was damage to houses and power lines north-east of Bathurst.

"We have a line of damage roughly 25 to 30 kilometres," she said.

Ms Imielska said the tornado was part of a broader weather system that the BOM had been warning about for several days.

The system is moving across Australia's east coast, and there are severe weather warnings are in place for large parts of NSW, including Sydney.

Damaging winds, large hail and heavy rainfall potentially leading to flash flooding are all on the cards for the eastern seaboard.

Further inland, in north-east NSW and southern Queensland, the risks include possibly destructive winds, giant hail and heavy rainfall leading to flash flooding.

Paramedics were called to two demolished homes — one in Meadow Flat and another in Clear Creek.

In Clear Creek, a man suffered facial injuries and a woman was taken to Bathurst Hospital with back and neck injuries.

In Meadow Flat, a man in his 40s was taken to Orange Hospital with an arm injury.

Inspector Meah Ferguson said patients were lucky to escape with relatively minor injuries considering the damage the tornado caused.

"It's not every day you get called out to a tornado and this one packed quite a punch," she said.

Local Rural Fire Service (RFS) Patrick Sinclair, who was cleaning up at the Meadow Flat house, said the family pet had been sucked up by the tornado.

"I'm told the dog was picked up and lifted about 300 metres and survived, so that's good," he said.

"The SES are doing their job and trying to put a cover over the top (of the house) and just trying to keep everyone safe," Mr Sinclair said.

He said the owner's livelihood was now in jeopardy as his tree lopping equipment had been ruined.

Peel resident Kathy Jones said she came home to see her house "swirling around".

"It took the house, the roof, it took everything," she said.

"Everything was just swirling around, the house there's not much left, we've got a big mess to clean up."

She said she could see a "big black cloud" in the sky and with her house destroyed, she had nowhere to seek shelter.

"There's broken windows, you always think you can go and hide under a bed but there's glass everywhere in the house, even ... the chimney's torn out of it so there's smoke all in the house.

"There's trees just up against the fence, the chooks yard is all blown down, there's chooks everywhere."

Ms Jones said her neighbours were helping her clean up and offered her a place to stay.

Electricity provider Essential Energy said roofing iron was blown into the electricity network at Clear Creek, bringing down powerlines.

About 164 customers are without power in the Limekilns, Clear Creek, Peel and surrounding area after it was automatically switched off as a protective measure during the storm.

BoM forecaster Gabrielle Woodhouse said tornadoes were "reasonably rare" but "not completely out of the question".

"Tornadoes are really quite … very localised phenomena, so it's quite difficult to be able to predict those well in advance of time," she said.

Ms Woodhouse said the storm season was "really kicking off" and urged residents to check the BOM's website for the latest weather warnings.

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