Wet and wild -- Rain welcome, but cyclonic weather causes disruption

By NEELIMA CHOAHAN

TWEED residents experienced near-cyclonic conditions yesterday, with wind gusts peaking at up to 90 km/h, causing several trees to come crashing down.

The Bureau of Meteorology issued a severe weather warning in Northern NSW, predicting locally damaging winds and dangerous surf in exposed parts of the region.

Volunteer Marine Rescue, Point Danger, senior radio operator June Smith said winds were gusty and there were no boats out on the water.

"The winds are blowing south-westerly at 28 knots," Ms Smith said. "It is very windy."

She said there was a gale warning from Wooli to Tweed Heads in NSW.

"It is certainly bad outside."

Police were called out to attend several minor accidents on the region's roads.

Early yesterday a red Toyota Camry perched atop the wire guard rails on the Pacific Highway, had drivers doing a double-take. Resting half on the grassy knoll and half on the railings, the car had its P-Plates prominently displayed but its driver was nowhere to be seen.

Tyre marks were clearly visible on the grass and it seemed as if the driver had tried to jump over the railing before his car got stuck in the wire.

The Toyota lost one of the front indicator lights and parts of its front bumper in its encounter with the guard rails. Kingscliff's Brett Gary, who stopped to take a closer look at the car, was mystified as to how the car came to rest at such a precarious angle.

"It is a strange place to park," Mr Gary said.

A spokesman for the State Emergency Services, Banora Point, said it was all hands on deck to cope with the inclement weather.

"We have had nearly 20 calls for assistance, including fallen trees and leaking roofs," he said.

More calls for help were expected when people returned home from work and noticed damage to their house, he said.

"There are 15 volunteers here and we will be calling in more people."

Meanwhile, SES volunteers in Murwillumbah were also called out on three jobs, mostly regarding fallen trees that were blocking roads.

Mr Corkette advised people to secure their belongings in case they blew away in the wind.

There was more disruption for residents in Recreation Street, Tweed Heads, when the area suffered a brief black-out around 3.30pm yesterday.

Country Energy community relations manager Mike Hely said technicians were investigating the cause of the blackout.

"Power was restored within 10 minutes after a stand-by transformer was operated," Mr Hely said.

The region also recorded heavier than usual rains, with Murwillumbah receiving 94mm in the past 48 hours.

NSW Bureau of Meteorology observer Simon Evans said the rains were heavier than normal.

"Murwillumbah had nearly twice the average rainfall in just a couple of days," Mr Evans said.

Predicting more rain for today, he said the rains were a welcome break from the dry weather.

"There will be scattered showers and a moderate wind, although it will still be fairly fresh near the coast," he said.

"Make the most of it.

"I would enjoy it if I were you."



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