Clarence storm brings wind, rain and hail

THE Clarence Valley copped heavy storm rain, hail and winds of up to 40 knots yesterday.

Water inundated Yamba Shopping Fair after the centre closed at 4pm. Target Country Yamba staff were alarmed when water poured out of the light fittings and exit signs in the centre for about half an hour.

Target Country duty manager Cassie Hardacre, 19, said the exit sign outside the front door in the store 'exploded', locking the electric door and setting off the fire alarm.

"There was a flashflood out there," Miss Hardacre said.

"The water came in under the doors. There is quite a lot of water in the centre."

Miss Hardacre stayed back with four staff members to help mop up the water until 5pm.

She said Target Country stock had escaped damage.

"The centre is actually full of water and no-one is around," Miss Hardacre said.

The Yamba-Iluka Coast Guard said Iluka experienced a blackout from 3.30pm during winds of more than 40 knots and pounding rain and hail.

A yacht, Damala, broke from its moorings in Iluka Bay during the storm.

The coast guard said the boat, which did not have people on board, drifted close to rocks at the north-east end of Iluka Bay.

After the boat was spotted it was towed to safety and the owners were contacted.

"We have had a bad storm, which came from the north-west," a coast guard spokesman said.

Farmers welcomed the downpour, according to New South Wales Farmers' Association executive councillor Jan Shorrock.

Ms Shorrock, of Lanitza, said it had rained enough to provide much-needed run-off into dams.

"We have had 25 millimetres over the last week, which has been very welcome," she said.

"It will provide a boost for farmers."

Ms Shorrock said it would also give increased 'pasture growth for the coming season' for graziers.

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