Smashed – hail hammers Toormina, Sawtell, Boambee East and Coffs Harbour

Large hailstones smashed Toormina, Sawtell, Boambee East and Coffs Harbour. Photo: Kane Benson.


TOORMINA, Sawtell, Boambee East and parts of Coffs Harbour were hammered by intense hail, wind and rain last Wednesday, 20 October.

The Bureau of Meteorology had issued a severe storm warning, but no-one expected the ferocity of the storm that damaged buildings, vehicles and gardens.

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Toormina Gardens shopping centre was evacuated because of a roof collapse and most of it remains closed.

Hailstones as big as golf balls extensively damaged buildings of all kinds, including schools, nursing homes and numerous private homes.

A Toormina resident, Maegen Jenkins, told News Of The Area that local young people were shovelling ice off the street until well into the night so that residents could drive home and that some plumbers stopped to pull out cars that were bogged in ice in Graff Ave.

Ms Jenkins said, “Two neighbours have their roofs caved in, others have water coming in, I’ve got smashed windows and water leaking in several rooms and a friend had her car written off.

“A 75-year old neighbour has slipped over three times in water in her house and isn’t good,” she continued.

“We’re all in social housing and the necessary ongoing maintenance hasn’t been done.”

Ms Jenkins said that she was lucky to live in a great neighbourhood where everyone helps out.

People across the affected areas rallied to check on neighbours and shovel ice from roads.

The NSW State Emergency Service (SES) set up a Mobile Command Centre at Toormina Sports Fields and have received more than 1000 requests for assistance to date, the great majority because of roof and window damage, leading to flooding in houses.

By Thursday afternoon, there was still ice on the ground in many places and streets throughout the area were covered in what was basically storm-shredded leaf mulch.

Then on Saturday, October 23, large hail struck parts of Coffs Harbour, including Korora, causing more devastation.

Unfortunate residents in all affected areas placed ruined furniture and other damaged items on their nature strips and roads were strewn with shredded plant matter.

The Coffs Harbour City Council offered a free pick-up for storm damaged household items (carpet, furniture etc) and green waste that would not go in green bins, as well as waiving fees for drop off at the England’s Road facility.

In Federal Parliament, the Member for Cowper, Pat Conaghan said that the SES had dispatched 23 units from around the state to assist with the clean-up.

He said he had spoken with Federal and State colleagues about offering Federal assistance if required and that his office could be contacted if necessary.

Mr Conaghan later released details of assistance available through the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements.

While the SES and local tradespeople have been amazing at providing emergency assistance, recovery, long term, might not be easy.

Although many people have been able to organise emergency repairs, most building companies and tradespeople in the area have been already fully booked with work into the New Year, making major storm repairs difficult and setting back timelines for other work.

One local builder was dismayed that two almost-complete renovations will have to be restarted and a major local glass company had had hundreds of requests by Thursday morning.

Member for Coffs Harbour, Gurmesh Singh, told News Of The Area, “We are expecting a significant damage bill considering the number of roofs, skylights and cars damaged, probably surpassing $100 million.”

Information about assistance can be found at or .


By Andrew VIVIAN


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