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High Precipitation Supercell Lashes the NSW North Coast: Wednesday 16th January 2002
by Michael Bath

If you have any reports of damage, hail, intense rain or winds from the NSW North Coast please email me at the above address.

Dave Ellem and I had a brief but intense chase intercepting the supercell as it passed through the Lismore area. Prior to arriving at the Parrots Nest lookout SSW of Lismore, strong SE-E winds developed and fed into the storm system as it spread northwards - in fact the inflow was probably 40 to 45 knots. The wind brought haze and it was quite cloudy ahead of the storm so the view was obscured. We could tell there was a large system approaching from the S with more development SW and even W. As it got closer the green tinge was very apparent though it lost this shortly before hitting us. Lightning was not very frequent, but there were a couple of CGs within 100 metres of us ! The SW part of the storm advanced towards us with a very turbulent sky, strong winds and very heavy precipitation.

This sequence of photos were taken by Dave Ellem with his digital camera.

Parrots Nest 2.10pm Parrots Nest 2.12pm Parrots Nest 2.14pm Parrots Nest 2.16pm Parrots Nest 2.17pm Parrots Nest 2.18pm Parrots Nest 2.21pm Parrots Nest 2.22pm Parrots Nest 2.22pm Parrots Nest 2.22pm Parrots Nest 2.24pm Parrots Nest 2.24pm Parrots Nest 2.24pm Parrots Nest 2.24pm Parrots Nest 2.25pm Parrots Nest 2.25pm Parrots Nest 2.26pm

We sheltered from the strong inflow winds and a little rain on the western side of a small Telstra building till the lightning was too close for comfort. Soon after torrents of rain and gusty winds hit us from the SW. Probably up to 45-50 knots. It later veered to the SE with some pea sized hail amongst the torrential rain, again with strong gusts which slowly abated.

Parrots Nest 2.28pm Parrots Nest 2.28pm Parrots Nest 2.34pm Parrots Nest 2.34pm Parrots Nest 2.37pm

Driving back into Lismore was difficult, but fun in the incredible rain - sort of like the Casino HP last year. In South Lismore there was flash flooding and some large branches ripped off trees.

Reports I've received indicate power poles bent over on the Lismore Kyogle road ( N of where we were) and hail up to 4cm in Lismore. Extensive blackouts in most of the region W, N and NW of Lismore.

The supercell tracked NNE and crossed the coast near Tweed Heads, a journey of about 5 hours from its origins S of Grafton.

Hail the size of cricket balls (7cm diameter and larger) have caused extensive damage to property in Kingscliff, Banora Point and Cudgen on the Tweed Coast. The SES have been called out to more than 1,000 jobs in the Kingscliff area as a result of hail damage.

These storm photos were taken by Warren Powers on the Gold Coast as the supercell edged through the area.

These storm photos were taken by John Bath at Lennox Head, north of Ballina.

Addition reports can be found in the Weather Forum


From Bureau of Meteorology.

  • Grafton local scale loop 2250z to 0520z 16/01/2002 (9.50am to 4.20pm local)
  • Grafton medium scale loop 2250z to 0540z 16/01/2002 (9.50am to 4.40pm local)

    Satellite Images

    This image from CSIRO Marine Research:

    NOAA satpic @ 3.22pm local

    From Bureau of Meteorology:

  • GMS-5 Infrared 23z 16/01/2002 (10am local)
  • GMS-5 Infrared 00z 16/01/2002 (11am local)
  • GMS-5 Infrared 03z 16/01/2002 (2pm local)
  • GMS-5 Infrared 05z 16/01/2002 (4pm local)
  • GMS-5 Infrared 06z 16/01/2002 (5pm local)

    Analysis Chart

    From Bureau of Meteorology.

    16/01/2002 06z

    AVN Model Analysis

    From NOAA 15/01/2002 18z forecast run for 06z 16/01/2002

  • Liftex Index
  • CAPE
  • Relative Humdity surface
  • Relative Humdity 850 hPa
  • Relative Humdity 700 hPa
  • Relative Humdity 500 hPa
  • Temperature (C) 850 hPa
  • Temperature (C) 500 hPa
  • Winds (knots) surface
  • Winds (knots) 925 hPa
  • Winds (knots) 850 hPa
  • Winds (knots) 700 hPa
  • Winds (knots) 600 hPa
  • Winds (knots) 500 hPa
  • Winds (knots) 300 hPa
  • Winds (knots) 200 hPa

    Document: 200201-01.html
    Updated: 6th September 2005
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