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Tornado lashes Australia, leaving hundreds without power

A tornado tore through Australia‘s rural southeast on Thursday, ripping roofs off houses, uprooting trees, toppling power lines and causing minor injuries, authorities said.

Police and ambulance crews were called to Meadow Flat, a town of 300 people near the regional centre of Bathurst, following reports of a tornado destroying a house just after noon, the emergency services said.

A man was taken to hospital with cuts to his arm. About 20 minutes later, the crews went to Clear Creek, with a population of about 100, about 30 km (20 miles) away, where a man and a woman were treated for minor injuries, the New South Wales ambulance service said.

“There have been reports of damaged houses, power lines and trees,” Bureau of Meteorology forecaster for New South Wales (NSW) Agata Imielska said in a video interview distributed to media.

The tornado was part of a weather system crossing Australia’s most populous state and causing thunder storms, Imielska said.

The NSW State Emergency Service issued a warning for people to secure loose items outside their homes.

The tornado upended power lines and blew part of an iron roof into electricity wires, triggering an automatic power outage for 164 homes, said Essential Energy.

“Crews are working as quickly as safety allows to clear debris and carry out repairs to the network, however there is no restoration time available at present,” a spokesperson said in a statement.