SHOCK IMAGES: Lennox Head residents inspect the trail of destruction left by a tornado that hit the small coast town on June 3 2010. Photo The Northern Star Archives
SHOCK IMAGES: Lennox Head residents inspect the trail of destruction left by a tornado that hit the small coast town on June 3 2010. Photo The Northern Star Archives

5 of the region’s most destructive recent weather events

WITH minor flooding swamping the Northern Rivers, we looked back at five of the most destructive weather events to impact the region in recent years.

 

DESTROYED: Up to 14 homes in Rappville were destroyed after a bush fire tore through the village on October 8, 2019. Photo: Marc Stapelberg
DESTROYED: Up to 14 homes in Rappville were destroyed after a bush fire tore through the village on October 8, 2019. Photo: Marc Stapelberg

 

Northern NSW bushfires, February-November 2019

Prolonged drought conditions and high spring temperatures contributed to one of the "worst bush fire seasons in living memory".

Two people were killed and more than 100 Northern Rivers homes were destroyed in a number of bush fires which ravaged the region throughout the year.

On February 12 an "erratic" bush fire destroyed 18 homes near Tabulam, before the area was impacted a second time in September.

The fatal Long Gully Road fire near Drake destroyed 43 homes and resulted in the deaths of an elderly couple near Ewingar.

Other major fires in the region included the Busbys Flat Rd fire which devastated the village of Rappville on October 8 and burned 44 homes, while the Mount Nardi and Border Trail fires burned in November.

The Myall Creek Rd fire ignited near Bora Ridge on early October before burning more than 121,324 hectares. The bush fire, which listed as under control, is still ongoing and the impact assessment is continuing.

 

DELUGE: The 2017 flooding caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie devastated the Lismore CBD and North Lismore. Photo: Marc Stapelberg
DELUGE: The 2017 flooding caused by ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie devastated the Lismore CBD and North Lismore. Photo: Marc Stapelberg

 

Ex-Tropical Cyclone Debbie, March 2017

Up to 20,000 residents were forced to flee their homes in evacuations as flood water inundated Lismore and Murwillumbah CBDs, as well as surrounding rural villages.

The region was declared a natural disaster zone after the Wilsons River broke its levee and submerged Lismore's CBD in up to 3.5m of water.

Nearby suburbs of North and South Lismore also suffered substantial losses during the deluge, with a number of residents being rescued from rooftops, while flooding was felt by properties and villages along the Wilson.

A number of businesses never reopened after the devastation, and nearly three years on, the region is still recovering.

 

TRAGEDY: Bats dropping from the trees due to extreme heat stress in Casino in February 2017. Photo Dee Hartin
TRAGEDY: Bats dropping from the trees due to extreme heat stress in Casino in February 2017. Photo Dee Hartin

 

Heatwave, February 2017

A week of extremely high temperatures in early February saw towns reaching higher than

On February 12 thousands and thousands of flying foxes died as the town reached a recorded temperature of 45.7 degrees Celsius.

A Wires spokeswoman said several hundred flying foxes died in Kyogle throughout the superheated weekend.

A Bureau of Meteorology spokesman said February 12 brought the hottest day on record for Casino in 23 years.

He said other towns across the region experienced extreme temperatures, with nearby Lismore topping 42.8 degrees, which remains the highest temperature reached in the city's recorded history.

A NSW Ambulance spokeswoman said during the February 10-15 period, more than 32 people were hospitalised due to heat-related conditions.

 

HORROR ACCIDENT: Scaffolding has fallen from the building site at the Lismore Base Hospital onto the maternity unit. Photo Cathy Adams
HORROR ACCIDENT: Scaffolding has fallen from the building site at the Lismore Base Hospital onto the maternity unit. Photo Cathy Adams

 

Supercell storm, November 2015

On November 29, a dangerous thunderstorm tore across Northern Rivers, cutting a path of destruction through Casino, Lismore, Bexhill, Clunes, Eureka and beyond to other parts of Byron Shire.

Following the storm, a Bureau of Meteorology spokeswoman said the thunderstorm had rapidly transformer into a rare "supercell"

She said BOM received reports of "giant" 5cm hail, an 87km/h gust of wind and more than 53mm of rain within 30 minutes at Belongil Creek.

The Lismore Base Hospital suffered damage after scaffolding collapsed onto the maternity ward, resulting in minor injuries and the evacuation of 17 people.

Electrical infrastructure was severely damaged and power remained out to more than 3,000 properties up to four days after the storm.

 

DANGEROUS: The water spout making landfall at Lennox Head before carving a path of destruction through the town. June 2010. Photo: John Green
DANGEROUS: The water spout making landfall at Lennox Head before carving a path of destruction through the town. June 2010. Photo: John Green

 

Lennox Head water spout, June 2010

On June 3, a water spout formed off the coast of Lennox Head, forming a tornado as it hit landfall.

Two people were taken to hospital with minor injuries and up to 30 houses in the village sustained serious damage after the mini-tornado passed through at about 7.30am.

Locals described hiding in their bathrooms as the tornado hit with a "huge, roaring sound".

Power lines were downed and an electrical transformer exploded requiring the Hazmat team to clean-up oil and other hazardous debris.



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