The pub with no roof: storm rips through north coast

A massive storm has ripped through several northern NSW towns, tearing the roof off one iconic pub and several other buildings, as thunderstorms brought "golf ball-sized hail" to the Blue Mountains.

Wind and rain caused significant damage in Maclean, on the banks of the Clarence River, after it hit about 1.30pm on Tuesday, the State Emergency Service said.

The tin roof of the town's iconic Clarence Hotel in River Street was ripped off the pub and flung onto a nearby street.

A State Emergency Service spokeswoman said the town's showground and several council buildings had also suffered roof damage.

The local SES headquarters also had its doors blown in as the organisation fielded more than 60 calls for assistance for downed trees and power outages.

Neighbouring SES crews as well the Rural Fire Service and Fire and Rescue NSW had been called in to help.

The spokeswoman said the storm lasted for about 15 minutes before hitting the nearby town of Yamba.

A severe thunderstorm warning issued by the Bureau of Meteorology remained in place at 4pm, warning of damaging winds, heavy rainfall that might lead to localised flooding and large hailstones over the next few hours.

The severe thunderstorm warning issued at 4.20pm.

The severe thunderstorm warning issued at 4.20pm. Photo: Bureau of Meterology

Scattered storms spread down the east coast of NSW and reached parts of western Sydney and the Shoalhaven region.

In a severe thunderstorm warning issued at 5.35pm on Tuesday, the Bureau said "severe thunderstorms" were detected on the weather radar near Richmond, Camden, Kangaroo Valley, Lake Burragorang, the Burragorang State Recreation Area and Oakdale, moving towards the northeast to southeast.

The storms were forecast to impact Narellan, Oran Park, Colo, the Wollemi National Park north of Kurrajong, Bringelly, Leppington, Menangle and Picton.

Earlier suburbs forecast to be in the storm's path were Horsley Park, Hoxton Park, Riverstone, Fitzroy Falls, Erskine Park, Fairfield, Glenorie, Leppington, Liverpool and Karuah.

Golf ball-sized hail was reported at Bullaburra in the Blue Mountains at about 3.50pm, the Bureau said.

A video from nearby Lawson showed the large hailstones falling in a front yard.

Hail in Lawson is hectic

A post shared by Megan Townes (@townesy77) on

In Sydney's east, dark clouds were seen gathering over Bondi as swimmers sought relief from the heat on Tuesday afternoon.

A general thunderstorm warning was issued for the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, Hunter, Illawarra, and South Coast and parts of the Metropolitan, Central Tablelands, Southern Tablelands, Snowy Mountains and Northern Tablelands districts.

The State Emergency Service advised everyone to keep their cars under cover or away from trees, secure loose items around their house, yard and balcony, and avoid flood water.

The low pressure trough is expected to continue along the coast moving towards the northeast as severe thunderstorms hit south Queensland.

Meldrum, on the Mid North Coast reported 29 millimetres of rain within 30 minutes while Cawongla in Northern Rivers reported 32 millimetres in 30 minutes.

Strong wind gusts of 76 km/hour were recorded at Evans Head at 2.38pm.

The severe thunderstorm warning covered the areas highlighted below:

The severe thunderstorm warning area, as at 3.40pm.

The severe thunderstorm warning area, as at 3.40pm. Photo: Bureau of Meteorology

The Daily Examiner in Grafton reports that the storm had earlier passed through the town, causing localised flooding and long delays for motorists.

A fallen tree across Hillcrest Road has blocked the main entrance to Townsend, Gulmarrad and Brooms Head, the newspaper said.

The damage followed a nasty hailstorm on the mid-north coast on Monday, where two aged care facilities at Laurieton and Kempsey suffered roof and skylight damage.

The SES received 55 calls for assistance in and around Laurieton following hail damage.


This story The pub with no roof: storm rips through north coast first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.