Large hailstones were the feature of some severe storms across the western parts of the Blue Mountains. Traffic chaos resulted from extensive hail drifts near Mount Victoria as hail the size of gold balls pelted the region.
Here are some pictures from the chase near Lithgow 17th November 2017. Some nice structure early from the storm that eventually did hammer the region near Lithgow / Bell. Initially, I was disappointed for not following the storm that dumped (easy in hindsight) but looking back at the pictures there were the initial structure shots and others .
More storms developed near Portland and then very late near Mudgee. Most storms were able to produce hailstones though the initial cell was very intense as was the Mudgee storm.
Golf ball sized hailstones Hunter Valley 26th October 2017
Severe thunderstorms including a few supercells produced golf ball sized hailstones or larger in some of the more intense storms. Radar indicated a few left and right mover classic splitting associated with supercell behaviour though most supercells were not long lived or incredibly intense.
Today's chase started out via the Putty Road to avoid traffic. This meant that the Mid North Coast was out of the question and targeting the Hunter Valley the only option.
With a boundary hanging along the Putty Road, it was all ready to explode as the moisture and drylineconvergence coincided with the advancing upper trough. Temperatures associated with this upper trough were anticipated to continue to cool to -20C by 10pm. Such a cooling in October would mean that even elevated storms would persist and produce hailstones. We could see even within 15 to 20 minutes the change in the base behaviour as we exited the Putty Road.
hunter valley developing supercell with golf ball sized hailstones
We then headed to Branxton. It was simply incredible to observe absolutely clean structure just off the dryline. Storms were already erupting near Bulga as the area tapped into the moisture and split into left and right mover. This was the left mover with exploding towers. Inflow was from the east-southeast which slightly favoured the right movers but still allowed left movers to flourish. The atmosphere slightly further east was cooling which meant that storms would not persist for too much longer as surface based storms.
Later during the evening another storm developed and weakened. After our evening meal, lightning flashes. Just out of town, we watched as the cell near Singleton approached us from the NW and then dumps hail to 3cm in diameter.
We followed this cell SE on the Newcastle Expressway only to catch up with another developing cell ahead of this one - producing hailstones - some in the sever range!