Severe hailstorm the size of golf balls strikes parts of Australia

Severe Weather Alert

HAILSTONES as big as golf balls bucketed down on Hunter rooftops on Wednesday afternoon as a powerful thunderstorm ripped through the region, cutting power to homes and forcing the cancellation of train services. 
The wild weather rolled in from the south-west, bringing with it heavy rain, gale-force winds and lightning strikes. 
The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning for much of the east coast and Hunter residents began to batten down the hatches. 
The State Emergency Services said they received reports of hail falling across Newcastle, Maitland and Cessnock, with readers capturing images of white-covered backyards at Cameron Park and Maryland. 
The bureau said hail the size of 20¢ pieces were reported to have fallen at Edgeworth, while Ausgrid passed on word of ‘‘golfball-sized’’ hail at Cessnock.
Train services between Fassifern and Broadmeadow were cancelled on Wednesday night after lightning strikes ‘‘affected signals’’ near Cardiff Railway Station, a spokesman for the Transport Management Centre said.
Bus companies were called in to transport hundreds of people heading home from work. 
Meanwhile,  strong winds cut power to more than 1100 homes at Fern Bay and Stockton, 1500 homes at Ashtonfield, East Maitland, Bolwarra Heights and Largs, and 1300 at Wallsend and Elermore Vale. 
Ausgrid had emergency crews working overtime to restore power to all suburbs affected. 
But despite the wild conditions, SES crews had only been called to only 11 jobs between 5am and 6pm, a spokeswoman told the Newcastle Herald. 
She said the majority of jobs were clearing branches off roads and rooftops.

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