Hail covers Tamworth in white as storms lash northern NSW

 

A blanket of thick hail, rain and flash flooding has battered Tamworth this evening, as severe thunderstorms roll across NSW's northern inland.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe thunderstorm warning on Wednesday afternoon for damaging winds, large hail and heavy rain in the Northwest Slopes and Plains, Northern Rivers and Tablelands.

But Tamworth bore the brunt of one particular storm cell late on Wednesday, with images from local residents revealing hail carpeting their backyards in its wake.

Tamworth backyards blanketed in white thanks to the storm cell's heavy hail. Picture: Chris Burton
Tamworth backyards blanketed in white thanks to the storm cell's heavy hail. Picture: Chris Burton

Local resident Chris Burton said the storm, which had been looming over the regional city since the midafternoon, hit "hard and fast" at his property about 5pm.

"I was watching the clouds build up since midafternoon for about an hour but then it hit us hard and fast for about 20 minutes," Mr Burton said.

"It started with the strong winds and heavy rain, but then the hail came in at the back and smashed down for about 10 minutes … hours later there's still piles of it in the backyard."

The storm delivered large dumps of hail on residents' homes and yards, with 1cm hail falling for up to 10 minutes. Picture: Chris Burton
The storm delivered large dumps of hail on residents' homes and yards, with 1cm hail falling for up to 10 minutes. Picture: Chris Burton

Several local businesses including Tamworth's Aldi supermarket and Officeworks were reported to have suffered minor flooding as Peel St was swamped with water.

Tamworth local Sophie O'Niell was at the beautician on Peel St when the storm rolled through the city's main street, flooding the road and surrounding businesses.

"It all happened so quick, so much water was pouring in through the roof and down the walls," Ms O'Niell said.

"We hit the mains power off then did our best to mop up in the dark … the shop was flooded, we stuck around to help clean up."

The severe thunderstorm approaching Tamworth. Picture: Chris Burton
The severe thunderstorm approaching Tamworth. Picture: Chris Burton

Power outages in the area remain unconfirmed but local Italian restaurant Carmen's posted on social media it would shut on Wednesday because it had lost power during the storm.

"Due to bad weather again we will not be opening for our dinner service as we have no power," a post from Carmen's on Facebook read.

There are currently flood alerts elsewhere around northern NSW, with minor flood warnings for the Bellinger and Paroo Rivers on Wednesday evening from the BOM.

Bureau of Meteorology senior forecaster Jordan Notara said while Tamworth had been hit with "at least 19mm" of rain, other northern NSW spots were also in the firing line.

"We saw one rather developed cell in the Tamworth region which had winds in excess of 80km/h and brought enough 1cm to 2cm hail to make the ground white," Mr Notara said.

"But we have also seen other heavy rainfall in the Northern Rivers, with 71mm at the Oxley River, and 49mm in half an hour at Eungella."

He said NSW residents hadn't seen the last of the storms, with more severe weather set to roll in tomorrow across regional centres.

"We can expect severe storms to potentially form across broad areas of central NSW as this inland trough moves south, for the rest of the month we need people to stay alert of severe thunderstorms," Mr Notara said.

Originally published as Hail covers Tamworth in white as storms lash northern NSW


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