Hailstorm destroys 4 million avocados in under 10 minutes, Australia

A severe thunderstorms hit parts of New South Wales, Australia on March 14, 2019, with heavy rain, strong winds and hail between 2.5 – 7.6 cm (1 – 3 inches) in diameter.

A severe hailstorm that hit an avocado orchard in NSW’s Northern Rivers destroyed an estimated 4 million avocados. 

80% of the fruit on 12 000 trees at one of the farms were knocked off after hail stones up to 7.6 cm (3 inches) in diameter hit the area.

The fruit was 3 months away from the harvest, so it’s all immature, unsalvageable, Aussie Orchards’ managing director Colin Foyster said. The remaining of the fruit on trees also had impact marks and trees themselves were also damaged, Foyster said.

The farm survived this year’s drought and wildfires and was expected to deliver a record crop this year. Instead, it was hit by what is believed to be one of the biggest natural disasters to hit a single avocado orchard in Australia, ABC reports.

NSW emergency service said it responded to more than 620 calls for help that day. At one point, up to 25 000 homes were also without power in the thunderstorms.

More than 20 000 lightning strikes were recorded across the greater Sydney area.

Featured image credit: Rami Mandov

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