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What happened?

By BELINDA SCOTT

A SUDDEN drop in pressure and a low that 'decided to come ashore' was responsible for yesterday's early-morning windstorm which targeted the Coffs Coast, said Coffs Harbour meteorologist Gavin Tait.

Mr Tait, the officer in charge of the Bureau of Meteorology office in Coffs Harbour, said the low had developed off the Gold Coast, drifted south and had moved inland between Grafton and Coffs Harbour around midnight on Tuesday, bringing strong easterly winds and storms and heavy rain.

He said the barometer had dropped four hectopascals in just one hour as the low passed over.

Mr Tait said just before the BOM lost contact with its wind recorder after water got into the communication lines, the instrument had recorded a 95 km/h wind gust. He said the 2.45am gust set a new October record for the city, eclipsing the previous top wind speed of 93km/h, recorded in 1982.

The prediction for today is scattered showers as the low continues to drift southwards.

Torrential rain has fallen throughout the Coffs Coast, with Dorrigo, Bowraville, Upper Orara and Thora all recording falls of more than 100mm in the 24 hours to 9am Wednesday.

In this time Dorrigo recorded 212mm, Lowanna 162mm and Thora 132mm, with 121.6mm recorded at Upper Orara, 106mm at Bowraville and 230mm reported from Arrawarra, 82mm from Perry Drive but only 51mm at Coffs Harbour Airport.

Heavy rain was still falling in many areas yesterday afternoon, with Thora recording a further 111mm to 2pm yesterday and Upper Darkwood receiving 210mm in 3.4 hours.

Shortly before 2pm, Coffs Harbour was receiving more than 2mm a minute, with 86.6mm falling in the 35 minutes to 2pm. By 3pm yesterday the bucketing had seen Dorrigo receive 326.6mm since Saturday, while Coffs Harbour had received 268mm, Upper Orara about 250mm and Thora 285mm. Coffs Harbour has now received three times its average October rainfall in five days, but is still 200mm short of its average for the first 10 months of the year.



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