Missing the hail, Oct 20

More sand has appeared, the incoming tide carries you upstream, you land walk back and ride again

A solitary Red-capped Plover dances on the other side of Miilba

A few hours later the police set up a forward command point under forty Ks north. The supercell thrashed the Coffs region around 2pm with large hailstones and damaging winds.

‘Police have set up a forward command point at the Toormina Shopping Centre, where there’s been a roof collapse, and we’re beginning to assess the level of damage and prioritise our response to all the calls for assistance.’ State Emergency Service deputy zone commander Tony Day.

‘It was huge — it was just like big boulders of hail, cars were going everywhere, it was crazy.’ Jane Jones.[i]

While the storm didn’t look overly impressive on radar, and appeared to only cause relatively light rain at times, it produced the type of hailstones that are rarely seen anywhere in the world. The Bureau of Meteorology has confirmed that some of the hailstones in Yalboroo on Tuesday afternoon measured at least 16 centimetres in diameter. This is larger than anything previously officially documented in Australia, beating the old record of around 14 centimetres from Kempsey, NSW back in 1999.

The storm that produced Tuesday’s 16-centimetre hailstones would have had a strong and sustained updraft that was able to keep the hail suspended in the air while it continued to grow. The longer hail stays airborne, the larger it can get.

But while this is likely a new Australian record, it’s not a world record. A hailstone measuring 20.3 centimetres in diameter fell from an intense supercell thunderstorm in Vivan, South Dakota, USA, back on July 23, 2010. A similar sized hailstone was measured indirectly during a thunderstorm in Villa Carlos Paz, Argentina on February 8, 2018.

Red-capped Plover

[i] ‘Raging hailstorm sweeps through Coffs Harbour, damaging local businesses and homes’, ABC Mid North Coast / By Emma Siossian, Luisa Rubbo, and Keely Johnson, 20 Oct 2021

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