Freak storm will not be one-off

IN THE wake of Tamworth’s 20-minute freak storm on Monday afternoon, the State Emergency Services (SES) has reiterated a warning it issued in October to expect a slew of fierce summer hailstorms.

The warning, originally issued on October 4, warned of the potential for a number of storms to rip across NSW and cause an estimated billions of dollars’ worth of damage.

More than 50 severe storms are predicted to hit the NSW east coast during the summer months. 

NSW SES Commissioner Murray Kear has urged people to continue to take all possible precautions.

“Hail is one of the most destructive weather elements,” he said.

“It can cause billions of dollars’ worth of damage.

“If people prepare their homes and businesses now, we can all make an effort to reduce the amount of damage suffered in severe weather.”

Bureau of Metrology Moree officer-in-charge Michael Glasson said Monday’s storm and other activity in and across the region suggested storms would not be uncommon throughout the region between now and the end of the summer season in March.

“It’s been suggested there is a 75 per cent chance of above-average rainfall for the entire summer period,” Mr Glasson said. “It’s likely, too, that storms will play a big part in the delivery of that rainfall.”

He said Monday’s storm was definitely unusual but that it possessed three key ingredients that resulted in it being labelled a “super cell”. 

“Those three key ingredients were hot temperatures, humid air and a trough system that pushed through the region in the week leading up to Monday,” he said. 

Mr Glasson said the ferocity of the storm was likely to have been the result of the fact two cells pushed into the area over the region at almost the same time. 

“One storm cell on the radar came from the south, near Werris Creek. It was the stronger and was probably responsible for the severe    winds and hail and subsequent damage to South Tamworth,” he said.

“The other cell pushed down from south-east Queensland and was less severe but brought a considerable amount of rain with it.”

Mr Glasson said storm warnings issued by the bureau had suggested Tamworth would be on the edge of the storm activity about 2.30pm.

“At 2.50pm the warning was updated. It’s important, even if Tamworth appears to only be on the edge of the warning, that people are prepared, because factors like wind can change the area affected by a storm very quickly,” he said. 

There are no storms predicted for the next three days. 

“The forecasts suggest light rainfall between Sunday and Tuesday,”  he said.

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