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Byron Shire
February 28, 2021

Passengers stranded as hailstorm closes Ballina Airport

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Spectacular looking cloud formations - part of the storm that closed Ballina Airport yesterday. Photo Kurt Petersen
Spectacular looking cloud formations – part of the storm that closed Ballina Airport yesterday. Photo Kurt Petersen

Ballina Airport was closed and more than 200 Jetstar passengers to Sydney had their travel plans delayed following a massive thunderstorm that hit the region late yesterday afternoon (Monday November 23).

Ballina Airport yesterday afternoon with spectacular mammatus clouds hovering overhead. Photo Kurt Petersen
Ballina Airport yesterday afternoon with spectacular mammatus clouds hovering overhead. Photo Kurt Petersen

The 4.45pm Jetstar flight to Sydney was cancelled and airline staff scrambled to make alternative travel arrangements for passengers as rain and hail pelted down on the roof, making communication all but impossible.

Swiss tourist Daniel Humbel told Echonetdaily he had accepted a flight from Gold Coast Airport today as this morning’s Ballina flight was already full and he couldn’t afford to wait until this afternoon.

‘A lot of people were very upset and angry and some missed connecting international flights,’ he told Echonetdaily.

Mr Humbel said Jetstar did not offer him compensation for the extra night’s accommodation or car hire costs.

He said he was lucky to be able to re-book at the property where he had been staying but wondered how many would manage with the influx of schoolies.

Other areas in the region reported flash downpours and hailstorms during the early evening, with one ABC listener from Rappville reporting ‘hail stones the size of golf balls’.

 Hail stones that fell at the Gold Coast yesterday evening. Similar sized hail fell around the north coast last night. Photo Weatherzone
Hail stones that fell at the Gold Coast yesterday evening. Similar sized hail fell around the north coast last night. Photo Weatherzone

Weatherzone reported similar size hailstones falling across the Gold Coast.

While no warnings were current at time of writing, the website predicted further thunderstorms could form today.


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