Developing

Massive Waterspout Forms Off Australian Coast

A giant waterspout has formed close to the shoreline at Batemans Bay in the Australian state of New South Wales.

Local residents at Long Beach described it as "a giant twister" that was "swirling with water".

Despite lasting about 15 minutes and having the potential to reach speeds of up to 160km/h, the giant funnel of cloud and water, which occurred about 225km south of Sydney, did not cause any damage.

A meteorologist at Australia's Bureau of Meteorology told the Sydney Morning Herald that waterspouts, were impossible to forecast and could be dangerous to nearby swimmers or surfers.

Forecasters warned of more severe conditions to come in the state, particularly in the north, after a weekend of wild weather.

Thousands of lightning strikes and wind gusts of up to 100km/h were reported on Saturday and Sunday, causing power lines to come down and at least one home to collapse.

Authorities advised residents to take precautions, such as moving cars under cover or away from trees, securing or putting away loose items around the house, and keeping clear of fallen power lines.