Sydneysiders were plunged into darkness on Tuesday night and a historic bell tower erupted in flames after it was struck by lightning as wild storms hammered the city.
The deafening rumble of thunder echoed through the capital before a fire broke out when lightning struck the bell tower of a 10-bedroom property in Ashfield about 8pm.
Dramatic vision was posted to social media which showed large flames billowing from the top of the tower, in Sydney’s inner west.
It is understood the property named “Amesbury” is one of the first Edwardian homes in Sydney and was built in the late 1800s.
Crews from Fire & Rescue NSW rushed to the scene and managed to extinguish the blaze, which had used surrounding timber as fuel, within an hour.
Meanwhile, thousands of residents in several areas including Gladesville, Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Blue Bay, Long Jetty and The Entrance, found themselves in darkness, after Ausgrid reported several power outages.
On Tuesday afternoon the Bureau of Meteorology warned severe storms were moving “into our network this evening”.
“If you see fallen powerlines always assume they’re live, never approach them and stay at least eight metres away,” BOM said.
A severe storm warning was issued for the Mid North Coast, Metropolitan and Central Tablelands, with wind gusts of up to 106km/h expected.
“Damaging, locally destructive winds and large, possibly giant hailstones (are expected),” BOM said.
The wild weather triggered major delays on the city’s rail network due to signal failure with the North Shore, Western and T2 lines all impacted by the relentless storm.
Storms were a welcome relief for some though after a sweltering weekend.
Parts of Sydney, including the CBD, smashed the 40C barrier on both Saturday and Sunday as the western suburbs baked.
In Penrith and Bankstown the, mercury pushed past 40C.
And the city clocked the hottest November night on record – not dipping below 25C.
A cool change finally swept through on Sunday evening.