Sydney tornado: Family home lost hours after auction
A Sydney family sold their A$1.1m ($800,000; £500,000) home just hours before it was destroyed by a tornado, it has emerged.
Destructive winds of more than 200km/h (124 mph) hit Kurnell, on the south headland of Botany Bay, on Wednesday.
The Bureau of Meteorology said it recorded the fastest ever wind speeds in the state of New South Wales.
Two people were injured, but the authorities said it was lucky no-one was severely hurt.
Frank Partlic and his family had been celebrating the sale of their home on Tuesday night, but by Wednesday morning it was almost destroyed by the severe storm.
"It sold at auction for a record price for a block off the water," Mr Partlic, who has also been battling cancer, told the Sydney Morning Herald.
"Where do we get the money from? I have used up all my holidays to fix up the house to sell it."
The new owners still want to go ahead with the sale, according to reports.
Local media reports that parts of the suburb Kurnell are still without power and sewage.
"This is a hard blow for the Kurnell community, just one week before Christmas," NSW State Emergency Service (SES) spokesperson Phil Campbell said.
Police are also warning Kurnell residents to not to touch debris or sift through the damage of their homes due to the risk of asbestos exposure.
"We have experts that will examine the area to identify debris that may contain asbestos and coordinate its removal," Assistant Commissioner Michael Fuller said on Thursday.
Meanwhile other suburbs including Bondi were also hit hard, with mobile phone footage showing shocked shoppers watching a roof collapse at a Westfield shopping centre.
A Westfield spokeswoman reportedly told the Australian Associated Press on Wednesday that one shopper was hit by debris and treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Sydney airport remained open, but the weather caused delays, AFP news agency reports.