A mini sand tornado whipped up the sand, sending nippers flying at Kingscliff.
A mini sand tornado whipped up the sand, sending nippers flying at Kingscliff. Rachel Elliot

WATCH: Mini sand tornado sends nippers fleeing

NIPPERS at Kingscliff were forced to flee the beach en masse after a mini tornado whipped up the sand on Sunday.

Nippers from Cudgen Headland Surf Life Saving Club were training on the beach on Sunday morning ahead of the club's Christmas fun day as storm clouds began to build.

Mum-of-three Rachel Elliott captured the moment a whirlwind - dubbed the 'Sandnado' by onlookers - sped down the beach, sending children and their families fleeing.

"The sky to the west went black and fast moving clouds started sweeping across and the wind kicked in,” Ms Elliott said.

"All age groups of the nippers were together playing a game right where the sandnado hit. Every kid screamed and bolted. Some who were in the middle were freaked out for a while.”

Ms Elliott said everyone left the beach and retreated to the clubhouse to continue their celebrations, with Santa still managing to arrive via surf boat once the weather had settled.

Watch the video here: https://youtu.be/aRHpsYhuHnQ

Meanwhile, the Bureau of Meteorology is forecasting "deceptively powerful surf conditions” for the Northern Rivers today, which could be hazardous for coastal activities including rock fishing and swimming.

The Tweed can expect cloudy weather today, with a 30% chance of a shower in the morning and early afternoon. Winds will be southerly 15 to 25kmh tending southeasterly 15 to 20kmh in the morning before easing in the late afternoon, with a maximum daytime temperature in the mid to high 20s.