Waterspout caps off stormy weekend
Residents looked on as a potentially dangerous waterspout moved up the coast of Batemans Bay on Sunday afternoon.PT0M0S 620 349
A spectacular waterspout whirled across Batemans Bay on Sunday attracting a crowd of amazed onlookers during its brief 10-minute appearance.
Waterspouts are similar to a weak tornado on water, and mostly triggered by a combination of a rotating updraught, warm waters, and thunderstorms. They are often strong enough to suck up fish, and can be dangerous when they cross onto the land. This one disintegrated as it hit the shoreline.
Bayside Motel owner Guy Smith said the waterspout was unlike anything he'd ever seen.
A waterspout puts on a show at Batemans Bay on Sunday. Photo: Ron Cottis
It appeared in the bay right in front of the motel and Mr Smith, who also operates a local weather website, managed to capture the column which he said made a ''bit of a whooshing sound'', on his camera.
''The car park filled up fairly quickly, everyone was out there taking snaps,'' Mr Smith said.
A waterspout puts on a show at Batemans Bay on Sunday. Photo: Guy Smith
Weatherzone meteorologist Brett Dutschke said waterspouts were not uncommon on the east coast. They often generated strong winds around the rotating column of water, but were usually much weaker than tornadoes.
A storm cell lashed northern NSW and the Queensland coast at the weekend, bringing destructive winds and, in some places, hailstones reportedly as big as softballs.
South coast residents were warned of large hailstones and damaging winds on Sunday evening.
Towns in the warning area included Batemans Bay, Eden, Bega and Moruya Heads.
At least four houses in the northern NSW town of Woodburn will have to be demolished after a devastating storm on Saturday evening. Woodburn, south of Ballina, with a population of about 350, was lashed by 100km/h winds. About 24,000 lightning strikes were recorded in the wild weekend weather in NSW.
The Bureau of Meteorology said the state's highest rainfall was recorded at Coffs Harbour, with 160mm in the 24 hours to 9am on Sunday.
The NSW State Emergency Service was kept busy, with 150 call outs at the weekend.