Shopping centre roof collapses in wild storm as NSW faces huge clean up

·3-min read

Shocking footage has captured the moment a shopping centre roof collapsed on Wednesday as a ferocious hailstorm wreaked havoc on the NSW Mid North Coast.

Around 2pm a "supercell storm" lashed parts of Coffs Harbour, Toormina and Sawtell with large hail, heavy rain and near damaging winds, NSW’s Bureau of Meteorology (BOM) said.

Winds were recorded at 87km/h at the Coffs Harbour Airport and there were multiple reports of huge hail and large amounts of small hail, BOM Tweeted on Thursday.

Footage posted on Facebook by NBN Television shows the Toormina Gardens shopping centre roof collapsing, prompting the evacuation of 400 people.

The roof at the Lowes store in the Toormina Shopping Centre collapsing.
Footage of the Toormina Shopping Centre roof collapsing, prompting the evacuation of 400 people. Source: NBN Television/Facebook

A crowd of stunned shoppers are seen running out of a Lowes store as water pours from the ceiling, which has been damaged by hail.

Numerous people then gather around the entrance to film the chaos as a large chunk of the roof suddenly falls to the floor.

Emergency sirens and scared onlookers can be heard shrieking in the background.

Photos taken during the storm and posted online show streets blanketed in hail stones.

Drivers Tweeted footage of hail smashing their car windshields, prompting them to pull over.

In another video published by Nine News, a group of people can be seen pushing a car bogged down in thick piles of hail.

The hail also caused damage at Toormina High School, which will be closed on Thursday as a result.

A SES worker walks down a street blanketed in hail. Source: NSW SES/Twitter
A SES worker walks down a street blanketed in hail. Source: NSW SES/Twitter

SES receives more than 800 calls for help

A "large-scale, multi-agency response" has been launched by NSW SES after they said they received over 800 requests for for help in the Coffs Region.

"The clean up continues today with local and out of area NSW SES crews as well as assistance from our partner agencies," NSW SES Tweeted.

The area could see more thunderstorms on Thursday but they are not expected to be severe, NSW BOM said.

The BOM said cool temperatures across the state are expected to warm up today and into the weekend, with temperatures trending 4 to 8 degrees above average.

"Starting in the west today and spreading northeast, ahead of a cool change for Saturday and Sunday," it Tweeted.

NSW's damaging supercell storm followed an intense hail storm in Queensland on Tuesday.

The state was hammered by "impressive but very terrifying" record-breaking hailstones of up to 16cm.

with AAP

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