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Tourists injured by lightning in Blue Mountains as storms roll through NSW

Ausgrid said roughly 7000 customers in Kirrawee and 2400 in Miranda were without power on Monday evening due to lightning, wind and hail.

Residents in Caringbah, where trees and street signs were blown onto roads, also reported power outages. In Miranda, some drivers were trapped in their cars after trees fell on them.

In the Blue Mountains, a 16-year-old boy and a 24-year-old man were injured by lightning on the Giant Stairway Walking Track in Katoomba just before 2pm.

The boy was on a set of metal stairs when he was struck and suffered entry and exit wounds to his arms and feet.

The man was leaning on a metal railing. He wasn’t struck directly but felt the effects after lightning hit the railing.

Three ambulance crews arrived quickly and took them to Nepean Hospital.

“They’re very, very lucky,” NSW Ambulance Inspector Greg Marshall said.

“It’s a very frightening experience for both of them … Considering the circumstances, it was incredibly lucky that they were both in stable conditions when taken to hospital.

Dark storm clouds above Queenscliff Beach as wet weather rolled across NSW on Monday.

Dark storm clouds above Queenscliff Beach as wet weather rolled across NSW on Monday. Credit:Renee Nowytarger

“Paramedics had to work quickly at the scene – they want to get in there and do whatever needs to be done to save a life, often putting their own safety at risk.”

“How you react to being hit by lightning depends on the circumstances and where you have been hit – most people however will go into cardiac arrest so those first moments of CPR are vital,” Mr Marshall said.

In Canberra, a sudden and severe storm transformed the capital into a wintry hellscape as large hailstones smashed car windows and killed birds, while damaging winds felled trees and caused traffic chaos.

Canberra resident Tom Swann rescued an injured galah and said there was a “steady stream of injured birds” arriving at the vet.

Mr Swann, a senior climate researcher at the Australia Institute, said the storm was “pretty surreal”.

“Canberra’s gone from apocalyptic bushfire smoke and the worst air quality in the world to a torrent of golf ball-sized hail stripping the leaves from trees and knocking birds out of the sky.”

The hailstones that fell outside Parliament House were even “huge” enough to be juggled.

ACT Ambulance Service attended to two people with minor injuries, while more than 1000 homes lost power, the territory’s gas and electricity distributor said.

Golf ball-sized hail blankets the lawn in front of Parliament House, Canberra.

Golf ball-sized hail blankets the lawn in front of Parliament House, Canberra. Credit:AAP

Animals were injured, with Parliament staff looking after a bloodied crow that was hit on the head by a hailstone.

The National Archives of Australia was closed due to damage.

A wind gust of 117km/h was recorded at Canberra Airport where 2.4mm of rain fell. Tuggeranong in the ACT’s south got 5mm in 10 minutes to take its total to 8.2mm.

Cars sitting outside Old Parliament House in Canberra were pummelled by hail.

Cars sitting outside Old Parliament House in Canberra were pummelled by hail. Credit:AAP

Dust clouds turn sky black

The storms came after winds associated with severe thunderstorms kicked up massive dust clouds across inland NSW on Sunday evening.

Meteorologist Abrar Shabren said the dust was heading towards Sydney and north of the city on Monday, although it would reduce in density as it approached the coast and appear as more of a haze.

Storms rolled through the parched landscape near West Wyalong in the state's central west.

Storms rolled through the parched landscape near West Wyalong in the state’s central west. Credit:Nick Moir

Videos posted to social media by locals caught in the dust storms showed massive brown clouds descending on Dubbo and nearby towns on Sunday.

The dust storms, which were pushed ahead of thunderstorms, impacted swathes of western NSW on Sunday.

The dust storms, which were pushed ahead of thunderstorms, impacted swathes of western NSW on Sunday. Credit:Nick Moir

The clouds were so thick they temporarily blocked out the sun, turning the sky black as they passed through towns including Parkes, Narromine, Nyngan and Orange.

A gust of 94km/h was recorded at Parkes about 6.30pm while a gust of 107km/h was recorded at Dubbo about 7.45pm, the Bureau of Meteorology said.

The view from west of Orange, NSW, on Sunday.

The view from west of Orange, NSW, on Sunday. Credit:Nick Moir

Dust storms have become a regular feature in western NSW with the drought leaving dry, exposed soil ready to be picked up with the arrival of strong wind.

But drought-stricken towns had reasons to celebrate as Sunday’s dust storm was accompanied by significant rain.

Thick dust clouds temporarily blocked out the sun in Parkes, Narromine, Nyngan and Orange. Pictured, west of Orange.

Thick dust clouds temporarily blocked out the sun in Parkes, Narromine, Nyngan and Orange. Pictured, west of Orange. Credit:Nick Moir

Bureau meteorologist Rose Barr said Sunday’s rain was concentrated across central and northern parts of the state, on and east of the ranges.

Many towns on the Mid North Coast and the northern rivers region received between 100 and 180 millimetres between 9am to 10.30pm on Sunday.

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