Hailstones size of grapes pepper Pottsville homes
POTTSVILLE residents were rudely interrupted last night when a localised hailstorm wreaked havoc in the small coastal town.
Pottsville resident Signe Shorter said around dinnertime her family watched a huge black storm front appear on the horizon and although it seemed far away, the thunderstorm hit the home some 30 minutes later.
"The hailstones were the size of grapes and came down as soon as the storm reached Pottsville."
Mrs Shorter said her husband's car was dented by hail stones but her home wasn't seriously damaged.
While Pottsville's new SES unit hasn't officially started operations, its 10 members were activated last night and attended a number of homes which suffered damage from the hailstorm.
Pottsville SES controller Christine McDonald said her unit responded to 10 call outs, most of which involved water seeping through roof cavities due to blockages of gutters.
Hailstones combined with leaf litter clogged up the gutters and caused water to enter gaps in the roofs.
"One home experienced a total power outage and its residents needed to temporarily move out.
"This was a near perfect wake up call to residents to prepare for the upcoming storm season," Ms McDonald said.
The storm hit around 6.30 pm and the SES unit remained activated until about 11.30pm when it was told to stand down.
Ms McDonald said the Bureau of Meteorology had issued a storm warning but the alert only covered an area south of the Tweed and the storm wasn't expected to hit Pottsville.
Bureau of Meteorology regional weather observer Alison Skinn said the bureau had issued a thunderstorm warning for the Northern Rivers area and although no specific notice of hail was included, the same clouds which brought thunderstorms, brought hail and it was therefore no real surprise hail was part of the storm.
"The first few storms of the season often catch people out," Ms Skinn said.
These types of events would become more frequent over summer and were partly attached to the wet season further north.
Some 17km north of Pottsville, residents noticed little of the damaging storm with no rain reported in Kingscliff.
Banora Point and Tweed Heads also came away lightly with only 1mm of rain falling in the area.
Pottsville SES controller Ms McDonald said the unit would officially open for business in two weeks time and was still looking for members to bring the unit up to full strength.
Anyone interested in joining the new unit can do so by contacting Ms McDonald on 0427 585 861 or by contacting the SES on 1800 201 000.
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