Byron Bay was hit by a huge hailstorm on Tuesday night leaving the streets looking like they'd been covered in snow

Byron Bay was hit by a huge hailstorm on Tuesday night leaving the streets looking like they'd been covered in snow
A severe hail storm in northern New South Wales has left the seaside town of Byron Bay looking like a winter wonderland.

Locals from around the northern rivers region took to social media to share images of the usually sun-kissed town covered in a snow-like layer of ice after the extreme weather event late on Tuesday.

"The hail was just like a regular storm but walking to my car involved walking through ice, which was the first time I've experienced that," said a Ballina resident, Karen Haupt Anderson.

"I've never seen snow before so it was a magical experience once the storm passed."


A senior meteorologist at the Bureau of Meteorology, Jonathan How, said the storm was the result of warm trough from the north and cold air mass from the south colliding above the Byron Basin.

"It's quite unusual given the time of year - this is normally the dry season for northern NSW," he said. "So to get this kind of hail and also some moderate rainfall totals is a little bit strange."

How said that sort of storm was not "unheard of", adding that locals would be used to similar ones in spring and summer. The storm was likely to be yet another strange weather event related to the warmer waters left over from the La Niña period, he said.

On the ground, the scenes were reminiscent of a fairytale as images of white streets and ice-covered surfboards triggered a flurry of social media posts saying it was "Christmas in July" in Byron Bay - despite the hail melting within 30 minutes of the downpour.

Anderson said she had not seen a wild storm like that since moving to the region at the start of the year for a fresh start. There was certainly a lot of debris in the area but there did not seem to be too much damage.

"My car was left outside and it hasn't taken any damage, so things look all right," she said.