Spectacular lightning show

THE thunderstorm which struck the Coffs Coast on Tuesday night generated winds of up to 100km/h, damaging roofs and bringing down powerlines and trees.

The coast battened down for one of the largest lightning shows seen for some time and several roads were blocked by fallen trees and branches.

Coffs Coast Advocate photographer Bruce Thomas captured the powerful storm cell as it whipped up waves over the ocean at Sawtell.

Bureau of Meteorology observations showed the storm front hit Coffs Harbour at 7.38pm and wind gusts were recorded up to 98km/h at the height of the storm.

By 8pm the winds had died down considerably as the system moved out to sea.

The State Emergency Service, Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca councils, the RTA and Essential Energy (formerly Country Energy) crews were called to dozens of incidents across the region.

“Coffs Harbour crews responded to eight jobs where a number of roofs were damaged and several incidents where trees were down,” said SES Coffs Harbour Local Controller Bob White.

“It could have been a lot worse going by the radar where there was a lot of red and yellow in those storm clouds indicating heavy rain, but it appears to have crossed the coast quite quickly.”

Power was out in the Bellingen and Urunga areas for several hours.

Essential Energy crews responded to downed powerlines at Brierfield.

Fallen trees also led to road closures on the Waterfall Way and the Gleniffer, Valery and Repton roads.

Bellingen SES crews responded to two jobs and Urunga crews were called to four incidents.

“A large tree was brought down blocking Repton Rd, near the Repton Caravan Park, and there was also a tree down on Valery Rd,” Urunga SES rescue officer Greg Newcombe said.

The gale force winds were followed by heavy rain, with falls across the region ranging between 3mm and 30mm.

The Bureau of Meteorology reported Coffs Harbour received 10mm of rain, Dorrigo 6mm, Nambucca Heads 20mm and Woolgoolga 25mm.

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