Hail just outside of Kyogle.
Hail just outside of Kyogle. The Northern Star

Kyogle hails storm season

NORTHERN NSW's official thunderstorm season has begun with hailstones 'bigger that golf balls' being reported in western areas of the region during Saturday's storm.

Kyogle SES duty officer Phil Copeland said the worst-hit area was Geneva, west of Kyogle.

“We had lots of broken skylights in Geneva, but no major damage to property,” Mr Copeland said.

“The golf club lost a few tiles off its roof and there was some damage to cars.”

Kyogle SES attended 11 hailstorm-related jobs at the weekend.

Mr Copeland said Saturday's hailstorm was not a major event, but warned there may be more storms to come and people should use their common sense to stay safe.

“People should stay in their cars if they find themselves in the middle of a hailstorm,” he said. “It's better to have a few dings on your car than to put yourself at risk of injury from hailstones.”

Hail is often accompanied by wind and strikes at an angle.

“It is important to keep away from windows and doors. People can be at risk of injury from shattering glass,” Mr Copeland said.

Bureau of Meteorology severe weather forecaster Michael Logan said the North Coast storm season continued until the end of March.

“September and October, and March and April are the peak periods for storm activity in Northern NSW,” he said.

Hailstorms form when humid hot air rises rapidly into the atmosphere.

“The updraught transports water high into the atmosphere which is very cold,” Mr Logan said.

“Hailstones form there and when they become too big for the updraught to suspend them, they fall to earth.”

The Northern Rivers was one of the few places in Australia likely to experience super cell hailstorms capable of producing 10cm hailstones, Mr Logan said.

The most dramatic recent example of a super cell on the North Coast was last year's October hailstorm, which flung hailstones almost as big as softballs at Lismore and surrounding areas.

Australia's largest reported hailstones were 10cm in diameter. They fell in the Hunter Valley in 1990.

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