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June 30th, 2019 by admin

Hail pelts nation’s capital

The wild weather left hail drifts up to one metre deep around city streets.

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Bulldozers were being used to clear ice in the city centre, causing traffic chaos and very long delays for commuters.

The city remains on alert with the Bureau of Meteorology issuing a road weather alert because of ice and fog.

Canberra’s major retail precinct, The Canberra Centre, has been forced to close as has the Australian National University’s city campus, as crews check buildings are safe.

Schools including Canberra Grammar and Campbell High, near the Australian War Memorial, also have been closed.

Government offices affected by the storm include the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and the National Health and Medical Research Council.

“We have had some flooding … it was an enormous electrical storm,” a spokesman for the Canberra Centre said.

ACT State Emergency Service (SES) chief officer Tony Graham said the SES had received about 100 calls for assistance with 40 officers working through the night.

“The majority of jobs have been for flooding and hail damage with a number of residential properties sustaining collapsed ceilings,” he said in a statement.

Numerous roads were closed overnight including Parkes Way and Vernon Circle in the city, he said.

Bunda Street in Civic was shut this morning as emergency crews worked to clean up.

Fire fighters from the ACT Fire Brigade and crews from Roads ACT worked to clear hail and debris off roadways.

Mr Graham said the storm struck late last night causing widespread damage from Civic through to Belconnen in Canberra’s north.

He said the ACT SES expects more calls for assistance to come in later this morning as people wake up to discover damage to their properties.

Canberra’s commercial centre of Civic, experienced unspecified but extensive damage as hail blocked gutters which then overflowed into shops and offices.

Nature strips across the city’s inner northern were pounded by the hail, leaving little more than mud in places where drought had stripped away top soil.

A spokesman for the territory’s water authority, ACTEW Corporation, was unable to confirm if any rain had fallen over the Canberra catchment area because the ACTEW building has been flooded.