Wyrallah Rd, East Lismore flooded in the sudden storm on Tuesday afternoon.
Wyrallah Rd, East Lismore flooded in the sudden storm on Tuesday afternoon. Chloe Jolley Facebook

1300 lightning strikes in less than two hours

Update 4.30pm: NORTH Coast towns have avoided major damage as a severe storm passes through the region.

Richmond-Tweed State Emergency Service regional controller Mark Somers said volunteers have responded to nine jobs across the region since the storm hit.

The most recent of which he said were SES volunteers are working with contractors at Bailey St, Rappville to respond to a number of trees threatening to fall in the area.

If needed, Mr Somers said volunteers from the Woodburn unit may be deployed to assist the MacLean, where volunteers are responding to about 60 call outs.

Based on the latest weather information, Mr Somers expected the storm to ease soon and described the weather as a "typical storm for this time of year".

The Lismore SES unit are reporting water over the road in parts of Lismore.

They said there were reports of water over the road at the Dawson / Zadoc Streets roundabout.

They said the situation was caused by flash flooding in the basin area (ovals in front of the square) and usually receded quickly.

There are also reports of water on Wyrallah Road at the intersection with Esmonde Street in East Lismore.

The SES advise you should avoid driving in these areas.

Rainfall figures recorded on the Northern Rivers between 9am-4pm are as follows: 

Lismore 24.8mm

Evans Head 33.2mm

Casino 17.4mm

Ballina 11.2mm

Byron 7mm

 

Over 1300 lightning strikes have hit the Northern Rivers in the last two hours.
Over 1300 lightning strikes have hit the Northern Rivers in the last two hours. lightningmaps.org

Update 3.50pm: THANKS to a lightning tracking website we know more than 1300 strikes of lightning have hit the Northern Rivers in the last two hours.

The heaviest concentration has been nearer the coast around the Maclean area where a pub lost its roof.

There were 672 strikes there alone.

Further north and inland close to the Queensland border there were 407 lightning strikes.

You can follow lightning strike happenings at lightningmaps.org

 

Update 3.20pm: THE Bureau of Meteorology's severe thunderstorm warning has been extended to include Lismore and Kyogle, with heavy rain now lashing the region.

Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce damaging winds, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and large hailstones in the warning area over the next several hours. 

Wind gusts of 76km/h wind gust have been reported at Evans Head AWS. There was also a report of wind damages in Yamba at about 01.50pm.

Heavy rainfall over the cane fields in Woodburn.
Heavy rainfall over the cane fields in Woodburn. Luke Elley

 

Update 2.30pm: REPORTS of a severe storm hitting Maclean are emerging as a series of storm fronts impact towns including Evans Head, Casino, and Kyogle.

The Clarence Hotel in Maclean appears to have its roof ripped off in the tempest which hit mid-afternoon as it moved north.

This picture below was taken by James Young and uploaded to North Coast Storm Chasers Facebook page.
Residents described the storm as a "mini tornado".

STORM DAMAGE: The Clarence Hotel in Maclean has had its roof ripped off as a severe storm passed through this afternoon.
STORM DAMAGE: The Clarence Hotel in Maclean has had its roof ripped off as a severe storm passed through this afternoon. James Young



An earlier video taken by David Cook posted to the page shows the strength of the wind:



The series of storm fronts appear to be travelling in a east to northeast direction, and appear to threaten Evans Head, Woodburn, Casino, Kyogle, and possibly several other towns.

 

Update 1.45pm: AN OFFICIAL severe thunderstorm warning has been issued for parts of the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, Northern Tablelands and parts of Hunter and Central Tablelands.

The warning is for large hailstones, heavy rainfall and damaging winds.

"Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce large hailstones, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and damaging winds in the warning area over the next several hours," the warning explains.

"Locations which may be affected include Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Armidale, Tenterfield, Sawtell and Dorrigo."

 

Original story 11am: WEATHER forecasters say it will be another big day for storms, and have warned people to stay away from lightning after reports of "close calls" yesterday.

Antonio Parancin, a weather forecaster from North Coast Storm Chasers, said today's conditions were "almost a direct copy of yesterday's conditions".

"Thunderstorms are expected to develop after lunch and then quickly strengthen into severe storms that may become supercells and track in a general NE direction," he posted on Facebook

"This is exactly what happened yesterday when a severe supercell tracked from south of Yamba all the way through Ballina and Byron Bay delivering giant hailstones and destructive winds.

"Today my personal hot spot for severe activity is from Coffs to Casino to Ballina to Byron and all surround areas."

Severe thunderstorms that develop today are likely to contain:

  • Damaging / destructive winds
  • Large to giant hailstones
  • Intense rainfall and reduced visibility
  • Flash flooding
  • Frequent lightning
  • Green in clouds (hail present).

Mr Parancin said the storms would not take long to fire up and gain strength.

"Some things to mention: Do not park you car under a tree because if a branch snaps and hits your car it will be worse than if hail had affected it, instead bring out the doona if you must," he wrote on Facebook.

"Do not stand outside when active lightning is occurring, yesterday we had many reports of very close calls, you don't want to be barbecued."



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