Australia: Giant hailstones collapse shopping centre roof as hundreds evacuated

A hailstorm hit the northern coast of New South Wales on Wednesday, damaging buildings and blanketing parts of the region in ice

A severe hailstorm in Australia has triggered the collapse of a shopping centre roof and damaged businesses and homes with ferocious winds.

Giant hailstones caused the roof of a shopping centre in Toormina, a city in Coffs Harbour, New South Wales, to cave in and flooded the car park.

Some 400 people were reportedly evacuated, as the extreme weather brought by a "supercell storm" hit parts of the city with 50mm of rain in less than an hour and up to 87km/h on Wednesday afternoon.

On Thursday morning, NSW State Emergency Service in Coffs Harbour said that over the past two days their crews have responded to nearly 1,000 requests for help in the Sawtell, Toormina and Boambee areas due to the damage from the supercell.

On Tuesday, heavy storms hit north Queensland and the largest hailstone ever to fall in Australia was officially recorded.