Area impacted by the severe thunderstorm warning, November 18, 2013
Area impacted by the severe thunderstorm warning, November 18, 2013

UPDATE 2.45pm: PARTS of the Northern Rivers face hail and flash flooding in the latest round of storms to rock the region, the Bureau of Meteorology has warned.

In a new severe thunderstorm warning, the Bureau warns Lismore, Grafton, Coffs Harbour, Woolgoolga, Sawtell and Dorrigo are likely to be hit by big storms this afternoon.

"Severe thunderstorms are likely to produce large hailstones and heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding in the warning area over the next several hours. Drifts of small hailstones are also possible," the Bureau says in the warning.

"Pea sized hail 3 inches (7.6cm) deep was reported at Dorrigo at 12:50pm."

Standing advice from the SES in the event of severe storms is: 

  • Move your car under cover. 
  • Keep clear of creeks and storm drains. 
  • Don't walk, ride your bike or drive through flood water. 
  • If you are trapped by flash flooding, seek refuge in the highest available place and ring 000 if you need rescue. 
  • Unplug computers and appliances. 
  • Avoid using the phone during the storm. 
  • Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well. 
  • For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500. 

5am: BYRON District Hospital's Emergency Department was damaged in Saturday's hail storm, with Byron Bay bearing the brunt of a storm that saw 59 SES call outs.

Wind gusts reported at 104kmh at the peak and isolated hail storms resulted in 59 callouts for the SES on Saturday night, an SES spokesman said, while Byron Bay Rural Fire Service dealt with more than 14 callouts on Sunday morning.

And the severe weather is set to continue today, the the Bureau of Meteorology forecasting thunderstorms around the Northern Rivers from late in the morning. No thunderstorms are currently forecast between tomorrow and Thursday.

However, a severe weather warning has already been issued between Sydney and the Mid-North Coast, where the Bureau is forecasting heavy rain with flash-flooding and damaging winds.

On Saturday, Byron Bay, Bangalow and Suffolk Park were hit hard by hailstones during the storm which hit the towns between 6.30-7pm.

A significant power outage saw parts of Byron Bay and Suffolk Park without power for seven hours following the storm.

State Emergency Service media officer Tanya Arginovski said the Richmond Tweed SES region had received 59 callouts - many for leaking or damaged roofs - during the Saturday night storm, with 37 calls still outstanding at 5am yesterday.

RFS crews from Byron Bay, Mullumbimby, Federal and Main Arm were called out yesterday morning to clear trees and fix broken windows and skylights with most of the damage concentrated along Shirley and Browning streets as well as Suffolk Park and Sunrise Beach.

Byron Bay RFS captain Gregg Miller said four trucks and 16 crew were involved in the mop-up after the storm.

Byron Bay District Hospital copped a caning, receiving damage to its roof which forced a move of the emergency department to the general ward until further notice.

Tweed/ Byron Health Service, executive director Bernadette Loughnane said the combination of very high winds, heavy rain and hail had caused the damage but no patients or staff member had been at risk.

Access to the emergency department would be through the main entrance to the hospital until further notice, she said.

Byron Bay Services Club also sustained extensive water damage throughout the club but manager David Green said the club was open for business.

Bangalow Show was hit by hail around 6.30pm, causing everyone to run for cover and some events to be abandoned, but the show went on with the fireworks display as normal.

Nothing stopped the fireworks, a show Society spokesman said.