CLOSE CALL: A tree down between the Pacific Highway and Rose Ave.
CLOSE CALL: A tree down between the Pacific Highway and Rose Ave.

A path of destruction

THE duty observer at Coffs Harbour's Bureau of Meteorology, Roger Brown, summed up Sunday night's wild thunderstorm in one simple sentence.

"That was one of the strongest gusts that I've seen here in 20 years," Mr Brown said.

Winds of more than 100kmh hit the region during a storm that only lasted half an hour but left a path of destruction.

Roads were closed by fallen trees and limbs while farmers were left counting the cost of crops ruined by hailstones the size of golf balls.

The wind and hail was on top of 45.2mm of rain that fell at the local weather station in the space of 15 minutes.

During the brief but violent storm, residents believed they were stuck in the middle of a mini cyclone.

"The wind direction did go completely around the compass," Mr Brown said.

"The wind started out in the south-east then went round through to the north before it wound up in the south-east again in the space of only 15 minutes."

If there's a positive to come from the afternoon and evening storms, which have become a daily occurrence of late, is they are a sure sign that summer has finally

arrived on the Coffs Coast.

After a run of uncharacteristically cool days and nights, higher temperatures with energy-sapping humidity are now the norm; perfect conditions for storms.

Until yesterday morning an incredible 528.4mm (a little more than 21 inches) of rain had been recorded over the past 22 days in Coffs Harbour.

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