MICROBURST: The supercell storm front captured by Megs Burgess looking across Palmers Island.
MICROBURST: The supercell storm front captured by Megs Burgess looking across Palmers Island. MEGASHOTS PHOTOGRAPHY

Severe storm identified as microburst: weather expert

A WEATHER expert has described Tuesday's damaging storm at Maclean as a microburst.

The description by some locals as a mini-tornado was in fact not far from the truth. A microburst is a small, but strong downdraft that moves in a way opposite to a tornado.

"This looks like a micro-burst, which has a very intense downfall associated with it," Weatherzone senior meteorologist Jacob Cronje told The Daily Examiner yesterday.

"It was particularly heavy because there were interactions with a low pressure trough inland and a high pressure system over the Tasman Sea.

"This was quite a complex system with bursts of localised thunderstorms along the coast down to the south of Kempsey as that trough came over the ranges."

Exact analysis of the storm was difficult due to a lack of an official reading station at Maclean. However, Grafton received 46mm in the hour between 12.40pm and 1.40pm, while Yamba, which escaped the eye of the storm, recorded erratic winds with a maximum gust of 50kph at about 2.20pm.

 

ASSESSING DAMAGE: O'Halloran Motors in River St was one of several businesses in Maclean to sustain significant damage from the storm.
ASSESSING DAMAGE: O'Halloran Motors in River St was one of several businesses in Maclean to sustain significant damage from the storm. Adam Hourigan

Residents of Grafton noted the unusual direction the rain initially fell. Meanwhile Evan Lewis from O'Halloran Motors at Maclean said he was busy trying to shut the doors to protect them from a southerly when he discovered the wind was also coming from the north.

"We lost solar panels off the back of the workshop, which ended up hitting one of our worker's cars and a customer's car," Mr Lewis said.

"I haven't seen wind and rain like that in my time. It was totally flooded between these two buildings. It covered the footpath."



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