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Fierce storm lashes southeast Australia; 3 people feared dead, dozens rescued from floodwaters

  • Emergency crews work in the pouring rain to try and restore power to Avalon Beach in Sydney, Australia Tuesday, April 21, 2015. A fierce storm lashing Australia's southeast destroyed homes, left dozens stranded in swirling floodwaters and may have led to the deaths of several people officials said Tuesday.(AP Photo/Glenn Nicholls)

    Emergency crews work in the pouring rain to try and restore power to Avalon Beach in Sydney, Australia Tuesday, April 21, 2015. A fierce storm lashing Australia's southeast destroyed homes, left dozens stranded in swirling floodwaters and may have led to the deaths of several people officials said Tuesday.(AP Photo/Glenn Nicholls)  (The Associated Press)

  • Huge waves crash over swimming baths at Avalon Beach in Sydney Australia Tuesday, April 21, 2015. A fierce storm lashing Australia's southeast destroyed homes, left dozens stranded in swirling floodwaters and may have led to the deaths of several people officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Glenn Nicholls)

    Huge waves crash over swimming baths at Avalon Beach in Sydney Australia Tuesday, April 21, 2015. A fierce storm lashing Australia's southeast destroyed homes, left dozens stranded in swirling floodwaters and may have led to the deaths of several people officials said Tuesday. (AP Photo/Glenn Nicholls)  (The Associated Press)

  • A tree and power lines lie across a major road in Raymond Terrace, approximately 150 kilometers (94 miles) north of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 21, 2015. A fierce storm lashing Australia's southeast destroyed homes, left dozens stranded in swirling floodwaters and may have led to the deaths of three people officials said Tuesday. (Nikki Short/AAP Image via AP) AUSTRALIA OUT, NEW ZEALAND OUT, PAPUA NEW GUINEA OUT, SOUTH PACIFIC OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVES

    A tree and power lines lie across a major road in Raymond Terrace, approximately 150 kilometers (94 miles) north of Sydney, Australia, Tuesday, April 21, 2015. A fierce storm lashing Australia's southeast destroyed homes, left dozens stranded in swirling floodwaters and may have led to the deaths of three people officials said Tuesday. (Nikki Short/AAP Image via AP) AUSTRALIA OUT, NEW ZEALAND OUT, PAPUA NEW GUINEA OUT, SOUTH PACIFIC OUT, NO SALES, NO ARCHIVES  (The Associated Press)

A fierce storm lashing Australia's southeast has destroyed homes, flooded communities and may have led to the deaths of three people.

The storm has been pounding Sydney and other parts of New South Wales state since Monday. It has dumped more than 30 centimeters (a foot) of rain in some areas, with wind gusts of more than 100 kilometers (60 miles) per hour.

People were left trapped in cars and stuck on rooftops amid swirling floodwaters. New South Wales premier Mike Baird said Tuesday that officials had received 4,500 calls for help and rescued nearly 50 people.

The worst-hit area was the town of Dungog, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) north of Sydney, where three people were found dead. Police said they were trying to determine how they died.