The lightning blew apart the gum tree. <i>Photo: Will Inveen </i> Click for more photos

Severe weather damaged homes in Florey

The lightning blew apart the gum tree. Photo: Will Inveen

  • The lightning blew apart the gum tree. <i>Photo: Will Inveen </i>
  • A shard of the tree pierced the roof "like a javelin". <i>Photo: Will Inveen </i>
  • The SES' work to clean up the remains of a tree which was struck by lightning causing damage to surrounding homes in Florey.
  • The tree that crashed through a house on Summerville Crescent, Florey.
  • The SES inspects damage inside to home in Florey after a tree was hit by lightning.
  • John Foster, Zarni Bear, and Henry, 2, outside their damaged home in Florey after a tree was hit by lightening. The tree pierced the ceiling of their neighbour's home.
  • The SES' and Firebrigade at Summerville Cres in Florey after a tree was hit by lightning and caused damage to surrounding homes.
  • The SES' James Goodwin inspects damage inside a  home in Florey after a tree was hit by lightening.
  • The SES'  inspects damage inside to home in Florey after a tree was hit by lightning.
  • The SES' inspect damage inside a home in Florey after a tree was hit by lightning.
  • The SES'  inspects damage inside to home in Florey after a tree was hit by lightning.

Several dozen Canberra families spent Christmas Day counting the cost of the wild storm that brought down trees and damaged homes across the city on Christmas Eve.

The Emergency Services Agency said it responded to 40 calls for help after the city was lashed with lightning and heavy rain.

In the most serious incident, a Florey woman was watching television when a lightning strike hit a gum tree and sent a giant shard of timber crashing through her ceiling, directly above the couch where she was sitting.

Jane Klose was sitting on this couch watching television when a gum tree was hit by lightning and exploded, sending this shard through her roof above her head. <i> Photo: Jane Klose </i>

Jane Klose was sitting on this couch watching television when a gum tree was hit by lightning and exploded, sending this shard through her roof above her head. Photo: Jane Klose

Jane Klose said she initially thought her house had been hit by lightning but instead, a ''javelin-like piece of wood'' had come through the ceiling.

Mrs Klose said the ACT State Emergency Service worked for about 3½ hours to ensure her house was secure and liveable, and the family was able to remain at home for Christmas.

"We got up this morning and wondered if it was all a bit of a weird dream, but then we looked at the backyard and our fence is peeled away like a sardine can, and it was like, 'oh yeah, it did happen'," Mrs Klose said.

"Lots of people invited us to their place for Christmas lunch, but we've still got access to the kitchen, so we're just having a quiet lunch at home."

She said shards of wood had been found about 50 metres away.

''Lots of neighbours from outlying streets are popping around to assess the damage, and they're going, 'a chuck of wood ended up in my yard','' she said.

Her husband, John, and son Michael were home at the time, and no one was hurt in the incident.

The storm also damaged other houses in the street, including the home of John Foster and Zarni Bear.

Ms Bear said her car had been hit by a piece of the tree, and some windows had been broken.

''It could have been worse, luckily we were all safe and there was no one outside,'' she said.

ACT Fire & Rescue evacuated four homes in Oxley for several hours on Christmas Eve as a precaution, after the storm caused two gas leaks.

''The leaks are located close to each other on Newman Morris Circuit and are believed to have started after lightning struck a light pole,'' the agency said.

Firefighters set up an exclusion zone until contractors could turn off the gas. Residents were able to return to their homes about 9pm.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued more severe thunderstorm warnings for large parts of NSW on Christmas Day, with emergency authorities urging residents to be prepared for flash flooding and damaging winds.

The warnings, issued at 2.06pm on Tuesday, were for the central tablelands, parts of the mid-north coast, the Hunter region, north-west slopes and plains, central west slopes and plains and the lower western, upper western and northern tablelands.

A spokesman for the NSW State Emergency Service said about 50 calls for help had been received by Tuesday afternoon. Many were for minor damage caused by high winds.

Many were from Sydney's northern suburbs and from Bathurst, in the state's west, the spokesman said.

No serious incidents or injuries had been reported.

For emergency help in floods and storms in NSW and the ACT, ring the SES on 132 500.

with AAP