WILD WEATHER: Cars drive through flash flooding in Union Street at South Lismore after yesterday afternoon’s wild storm.
WILD WEATHER: Cars drive through flash flooding in Union Street at South Lismore after yesterday afternoon’s wild storm. Jay Cronan

Rain, hail unleashed as storm hits

A WILD storm ripped across a narrow band of the Northern Rivers late yesterday afternoon bringing with it hail, strong winds and torrential rain.

Casino was hit first about 3.10pm with heavy rainfall, hail and strong winds. About 20mm of rain fell during the storm, which had wind gusts of 35km/h.

About 20 minutes later the storm arrived in Lismore bringing with it 25.4mm of rain and wind gusts as strong as 82km/h.

Ballina received 59.2mm of rain to 6.05pm last night and Cape Byron 17.6mm. Corndale received 25mm of rain.

The SES reported last night it had only received four requests for help around Lismore, mainly related to water damage in houses.

But a strong wind warningremains in place for coastalwaters from Cape Byron to Coffs Harbour, with winds of up to 30 knots expected and rough seas with a swell of up to 3 metres.

The storm may be a sign of things to come, with La Nina conditions and a negative Indian Ocean dipole – both a cause of increased rainfall – currently developing at the same time.

The last time both phenomena occurred at the same time was in 1974, the year in which Tropical Cyclone Zoe caused widespread flooding across the Northern Rivers.

That year, floodwaters reached 12.1m in Lismore's CBD, one person was killed, 1500 homes were evacuated, livestock drowned and the damage bill was estimated at $84 million after 700mm of rain fell within 48 hours.

La Nina conditions – caused by cooling in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, which leads to warming in western areas – have been forming since winter.



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