Port Macquarie pummelled by ‘life-threatening’ tennis ball-sized hailstones


Updated

November 08, 2018 11:42:19

Rollands Plains and Kundabung on the New South Wales mid-north coast was pummelled by “life-threatening” hailstones measuring up to 9 centimetres on Wednesday afternoon.

Key points:

  • The Bureau of Meteorology said the hailstones were like having a cricket ball thrown from a cloud
  • A 19-year-old man was almost impaled by a falling tree branch after a lightning strike while driving through Wingham
  • A farmer said most of his outdoor crops were destroyed by the hailstorm

Mark Wilgar from the Bureau of Meteorology described the hailstones as “extraordinary”.

“That’s probably life-threatening at that size,” Mr Wilgar said.

“With an impact that would be like, somebody standing on a cloud and throwing a cricket ball at your heard.

“Unbelievable stuff, mother nature showing off again. It seems so outrageous.”

Despite footage shared by residents showing the severity of the hailstorm, the State Emergency Service (SES) said there had only been two calls for assistance for the region overnight.

One of the calls was for hail damage at a property north of Port Macquarie and the other was for a downed tree at South West Rocks.

However, SES spokesman Steve Lawrence said after large hailstones fell at Kundabung and Rollands Plains, there could be more calls today.

Close call after branch impales windshield

A Wingham man had a close call during yesterday’s storm while driving through Wingham, north-west of Taree.

While Daniel Sowter, 19, was heading home from work on Shorts Road, a lightning bolt caused a tree to drop a branch through the windshield of his 4WD.

His mother, Leona Sowter, shared photos of the aftermath on Facebook.

“A lightning bolt struck right in front of his truck, splitting a tree in half,” Ms Sowter told ABC News.

“He said that’s when all the trees just started to fall down around him.”

She said the first branch came down and took out his driver’s side mirror and scratched up the side of his car — the second impaled the windscreen and struck his knee.

“He said he didn’t have time to think,” his mother said. “He said there was no time to stop and think because the branches were still coming down.

Mr Sowter drove to the end of the road with the branch that injured him still jutting from his windshield.

The ABC understands he is in good health and returned to work today.

Sunny outlook after weathering storm

A vegetable grower in Rolland Plains says he is counting his blessings despite losing around 90 per cent of his crop during a massive hailstorm.

Rod Bailey farms at Eastward Gardens about 40 kilometres north-west of Port Macquarie, servicing local farmers markets and direct home deliveries.

The massive hailstones shredded his outdoor vegetable crops yesterday evening — the tomatoes, which were covered by plastic, remained mostly undamaged.

“It’s the most devastating storm we’ve seen in the nine years we have lived here,” Mr Bailey said.

“The strength of the wind and the intensity of the hail. We have never seen this before.”

Despite the calamity of the damage, the farmer kept a positive outlook.

“Alright, we have an opportunity now to start again with our outdoor crop. You have to take a pragmatic stance,” he said.

Topics:

weather,

storm-disaster,

disasters-and-accidents,

storm-event,

emergency-incidents,

port-macquarie-2444,

rollands-plains-2441,

kundabung-2441,

taree-2430,

wingham-2429

First posted

November 08, 2018 11:39:55



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