AFTERMATH: Jacaranda City lashed by damaging storm

CARS under branches, a popular hotel's near miss, a racecourse tragedy and a See Park giant struck by lightning; one Grafton suburb in particular felt the full wrath of the wild storm which hit the city late on Thursday afternoon.

Westlawn was in the direct path of the super cell, which developed rapidly as it approached the city before it swept through the city at 5.30pm without any official warning, bringing with it damaging winds and torrential rain.

Dozens of large trees were snapped at the trunk or completely uprooted from the very strong wind gusts with damage concentrated in the area between Clarence River Jockey Club and See Park.

A tree snapped at the truck next to Grafton racecourse from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020
A tree snapped at the truck next to Grafton racecourse from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020 Bill North

Emergency services and Essential Energy crews worked into the evening to clear streets from fallen trees and debris, attend damaged properties and, for one unlucky couple, remove branches which had fallen onto their vehicle while they were dining at the Village Green Hotel.

 

Emergency services work to remove fallen branches from a car of a couple who were dining at the Village Green Hotel when damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm struck Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020
Emergency services work to remove fallen branches from a car of a couple who were dining at the Village Green Hotel when damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm struck Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020 Bill North

The pub itself - and its patrons - had a lucky escape, with a large Jacaranda tree coming to grief directly outside its main entrance.

A massive tree was uprooted outside the Village Green Hotel from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020
A massive tree was uprooted outside the Village Green Hotel from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020 Bill North

Meanwhile, several onlookers and local residents reported a racehorse had been killed when large branches fell onto one of the stables adjacent to Grafton racecourse.

A racehorse was killed when large branches fell into one of the stables adjacent to the racecourse from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020
A racehorse was killed when large branches fell into one of the stables adjacent to the racecourse from damaging winds in a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020 Bill North

Many of the city's iconic jacaranda trees are located in the area most impacted by the storm, including along Jacaranda Avenue and in See Park, where the trees suffered significant damage.

One giant tree in the middle of See Park adjacent to the playground was completely blown apart by a lightning strike.

A massive tree in See Park was struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020
A massive tree in See Park was struck by lightning during a severe thunderstorm at Grafton on Thursday, 23rd January, 2020 Bill North

The neighbourhoods between See Park and the Grafton CBD also suffered extensive damage from the storm.

Click here for more coverage on the Grafton storm and all the latest weather coverage for Clarence Valley.