Severe thunderstorm warnings issued across NSW

UPDATE: The immediate threat of severe thunderstorms in the Maitland area has passed, but the situation will continue to be monitored and further warnings will be issued if necessary.

A more general severe thunderstorm warning remains current for the Mid North Coast and parts of the Northern Rivers and Hunter districts.

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EARLIER: A SEVERE thunderstorm warning for LARGE HAIL, HEAVY RAINFALL and DAMAGING WINDS has been issued for people in parts of the Maitland/Cessnock and Greater Newcastle areas.

A more general severe thunderstorm warning is also current for parts of the Northern Rivers, Mid North Coast, Hunter and Northern Tablelands districts.

The Bureau of Meteorology warns that, at 11:45 am, severe thunderstorms were detected on weather radar near Maitland and Morpeth.

These thunderstorms are moving towards the northeast to southeast. They are forecast to affect Raymond Terrace, Wallalong and Nelsons Plains (northwest of Raymond Terrace) by 12:00 pm and Medowie, Seaham and the area between Raymond Terrace and Karuah by 12:15 pm.

Large hailstones, heavy rainfall that may lead to flash flooding and damaging winds are likely.

Witnesses have reported hail the size of a fist at Coffs Harbour at 12.00pm.

The State Emergency Service advises that people should:
* Move your car under cover or away from trees.
* Secure or put away loose items around your house, yard and balcony.
* Keep clear of fallen power lines.
* Unplug computers and appliances.
* Avoid using the phone during the storm.
* Stay indoors away from windows, and keep children and pets indoors as well.
* For emergency help in floods and storms, ring the SES (NSW and ACT) on 132 500.

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