Severe Storms at Boggabri and Mullaley: 27-28th November 2000
report compiled by Michael Bath
from Adam Cole, Warwick QLD
Just on TEN News at 520PM that the Town of BOGGABRI got hit by "a mini cyclone". sheds blown away, house unroofed. Hail size of Ball bearings. (what ever size that means). Large trees unrooted from Ground with concrete. Storm lasted 10 mins came from Nowhere. Footage of damage area looks to have been hit by a F1 to F2 torado.
After narrowly escaping the floodwaters last week, it took just 15 minutes for the tiny northern New South Wales town of Boggabri to be flattened by a mini tornado.
Residents said it was a miracle yesterday's violent storm which destroyed one house and damaged 20 others, didn't cause serious injury.
More than 100 children at Boggabri Public School had a lucky escape, moving indoors from lunch just minutes before corrugated iron, uprooted trees, fences and marble-sized hailstones lashed the playground.
"We'd only been in from lunch about 15 minutes so we were very lucky - it would've been very dangerous with iron off roofs and things from in the town flying around," Principal Les McMahon told AAP.
Likening the 15 minute storm to a tornado, Mr McMahon said one staff member's house had its roof ripped off, while another's car was crushed by a falling tree in the school carpark.
"There wasn't a puff in the sky and then suddenly we were in the middle of a mini tornado. It was very frightening," he said.
"We were going out to try to save the cars, to put them undercover because the hail got really big. But we couldn't get out the door."
Mr McMahon said more than half the trees in the school's grounds were snapped or uprooted, leaving little shelter from the sweltering heat when children returned to school today.
Repairing the school's gutters, fences and tennis court today were two dozen cotton workers, many of whom had last week sand-bagged properties on the town's fringe when the Namoi River burst its banks.
Lying on higher ground, most of Boggabri township escaped the floodwaters.
But Mr McMahon was philosophical about the second disaster in as many weeks.
"We thought we were very lucky because it's only the outlying houses in the town that get flooded ... until we get hit with this enormous storm.
"I guess we're just getting evened up."
Mr McMahon joked he was glad the authorities didn't see his playground during the storm - only two days ago the school won the State Government award for sports safety.
"It's a bit ironic actually. We go from highs to lows very quickly."
from Matt Pearce, Sydney
A tornado was filmed by Anthony, Macca, Matt and Greg about 10km north of Mullalley this afternoon, which is south of Boggabri and west of Gunnedah for those who don't have a clue where I'm talking about. Basically, the situation started with a rainshaft out of the storm, through which the funnel is observed to descend. A feature of all the storms today apparently in the area was the frequency of microbursts, probably due to the very dry boundary layer conditions, and this was ultimately the downfall of the tornado. The funnel descended further and a debris cloud was then visible on the ground for about 30 seconds beneath the funnel. Anthony does not believe the storm itself was a supercell and that the vorticity for the tornado may have been aided by the many microbursts in the area...so it was a non-supercellular tornado...something we are seeing more and more in Australia over recent months.
A brief chronolgy
of events surrounding the tornado was as follows:
5:25:38 - funnel first sighted
5:25:42 - condensation funnel extends to ground
5:26:32 - condensation funnel retracts from ground
5:28:02 - tornado disappears from sight due to a microburst sweeping down in front of it
Therefore, the tornado may still have been there after this time, it is just that they couldn't see it due to the microburst.
Updated: 2nd November, 2001
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