Wild hailstorms in Sydney caused a Westfield ceiling to collapse this afternoon, leading the shopping centre to be evacuated.
Wild storms currently lashing Sydney have caused part of a Westfield shopping centre’s roof to collapse.
The ceiling above Best and Less inside the Westfield Mount Druitt caved in on Thursday just after 4pm, NSW Fire and Rescue told news.com.au.
A downpour of hail stones was believed to be the cause, a spokesperson said.
The entire shopping centre was evacuated and fortunately no one was injured.
“Hail has come through the roof and caused the Best and Less ceiling to collapse,” the spokesperson said.
Two NSW Fire and Rescue crews responded to the incident, where they conducted “salvage operations”.
There were no concerns for the safety of people in surrounding areas.
It was not known when the shopping centre would re-open to the public.
Supercell storm strikes Sydney
Dangerous thunderstorms rolled across Sydney throughout the afternoon, with the Bureau of Meteorology even warning a tornado could push across areas west of Penrith heading towards Blacktown.
“We’ve had quite an escalating storm situation within Sydney metropolitan area. As of around a half an hour ago, we have seen rotation within a thunderstorm which is moving through,” senior meteorologist Jordan Notara told 2GB radio on Thursday afternoon.
“We haven’t as yet had any observations on the ground but the signatures that we are seeing on the radar are indicative of something that will produce damaging … wind gusts, large giant hail, again, quite a dangerous situation.”
Severe thunderstorm warnings were issued for people in the Blue Mountains/Hawkesbury, Gosford/Wyong, Sydney, Wollondilly/Wingecarribee and greater Wollongong areas.
The BOM warned of multiple thunderstorms impacting major population centres, including metro Sydney about 4.30pm, while a “very dangerous” thunderstorm threatened people in Fairfield.
The storm that struck metro parts of the city began moving off the coast at about 5pm, with the most severe storms having eased by 5.30pm.
The BOM said active monitoring of any redevelopment would be ongoing into the evening for areas around Sydney.
The massive downpour caused flooding so severe in Merrylands that three cars became stranded, requiring assistance from police and Fire and Rescue crews.
Elsewhere, properties were hounded with golf ball-sized hail stones, with images of large areas of hail-covered ground being shared to Twitter.
Originally published as Damaging hail causes ceiling to collapse at Westfield shopping centre’s Best and Less store