Giant Hail Putty to Lower Blue Mountains 12th March 2015

0312jd135 0312jd136It was a long afternoon with once again storms on the Southern Tablelands heading towards Campbelltown.

This storm near Campbelltown eventually died near Liverppol

This storm near Campbelltown eventually died near Liverppol

Campbelltown storm base heading for Liverppol

Campbelltown storm base heading for Liverppol

Cumulonimbus near Penrith

Cumulonimbus near Penrith

Developing storm near Bilpin

Developing storm near Bilpin

Developing Faulcanbridge Hailstorm

Developing Faulcanbridge Hailstorm

Developing Putty Supercell near Colo Heights

Developing Putty Supercell near Colo Heights

This made for the first intercept but the storm soon collapsed near Liverpool. It look as if the Hunter was the only place to be after this but I repositioned to near Penrith Lakes. A storm had slowly begun to take off south of Katoomba but seemed to  struggle. It was at this time Nick Moir and his companion met up.

Colo Heights storm base

Colo Heights storm base

And to complicate things, another storm explodes near Wisemans Ferry, followed by an explosive updraft near Colo Heights. Nick and I both decided to head towards Richmond and it quickly became apparent to continue on to Colo Heights. Critical decision and after travelling through Dukes of Hazard countryside we finally made it out at Colo Heights.

We wasted no time heading towards the storm now to our west north west. A thick base greeted us with synonymous lightning strikes.

With a green tinge evident, hail was on the cards. the storm was only able to produce brief bursts if hail but it was the lightning – dangerous lightning – that concerned us. 0312jd106 0312jd104 0312jd099 0312jd096This meant a decent updraft was overhead! Heading north towards Putty, the bursts of hail brought large hailstones but still nothing more than 2 to 3cm in diameter. Near Putty, a major base had developed and although not obvious inflow from the northeast feeding into this base. The decision to head towards and beyond Putty made the chase worthwhile!0312jd111 0312jd110 Copious amounts of hailstones developed at first to 3 or 4cm and then the odd large sounding thud! 0312jd115

The further northwest, the larger the hail and this time very large hailstones vibrated the vehicle! This lasted for the best part of 20 minutes as I moved even further northwesterly. Finally, the hail had been dumped and only 3 to 4cm hailstones were falling. The storm had probably gone into a weakening phase at this point and dumped its hail or at least briefly moved out of the road coverage. 0312jd117 0312jd116Measuring time – at first hailstones to 5cm were sampled and measured but upon further investigation, a slightly larger and rounded hailstone was found and measured to achieve the 6cm category! The storm exhibited coloured reflections of the sunset – occasional zits produced at dusk. After gathering a few hailstones into the car to show Nick Moir, I headed back. Unbeknown to me, Nick had headed back north and was already at Bulga when I contacted him! After brief stop, it was time to head back home! Finally something to smile about!0312jd125

25 thoughts on “Giant Hail Putty to Lower Blue Mountains 12th March 2015

  1. Michael Keene

    Awesome selection of images Jimmy! Awesome hail. I busted today, and it was a painful bust too. I sat in Windsor until 3pm, however I got lured south towards the southern cells., and that was against gut instinct. I knew that if the Highlands fired off storms, the Blue Mountains would eventually too, however I went towards Campbelltown anyway. The storms died right on top of me, so I headed home mentally exhausted having battled heavy traffic for hours on end,.Of course 2 hours later the Blue Mountains explode with several supercells and 3-4 storm splits. Just a lack of patience killed me, my target choice was good, I should've trusted it and ignored the Picton stuff.

  2. Michael Keene

    Awesome selection of images Jimmy! Awesome hail. I busted today, and it was a painful bust too. I sat in Windsor until 3pm, however I got lured south towards the southern cells., and that was against gut instinct. I knew that if the Highlands fired off storms, the Blue Mountains would eventually too, however I went towards Campbelltown anyway. The storms died right on top of me, so I headed home mentally exhausted having battled heavy traffic for hours on end,.Of course 2 hours later the Blue Mountains explode with several supercells and 3-4 storm splits. Just a lack of patience killed me, my target choice was good, I should've trusted it and ignored the Picton stuff.

  3. Ben McBurney

    Frustrating for me too.. I got the first Camden storm with 2cm hail and then stayed near Penrith until 5pm. Sky was looking good and tops were glaciating.. But I had to head home for a concert. Given I was in a good spot, it was another frustrating day.

  4. Ben McBurney

    Frustrating for me too.. I got the first Camden storm with 2cm hail and then stayed near Penrith until 5pm. Sky was looking good and tops were glaciating.. But I had to head home for a concert. Given I was in a good spot, it was another frustrating day.

  5. Jimmy Deguara

    Hi Michael Keene and Ben McBurney, sorry for your unfortunate circumstances. I don't blame any of you – the sky struggled after the first storms at SW Sydney early in the afternoon. Even the first storm that eventually became the supercell at Faulcanbridge struggled early. What happened after that was history – not often do you see such a localised region explode like it did for an hour or two.

  6. Jimmy Deguara

    Hi Michael Keene and Ben McBurney, sorry for your unfortunate circumstances. I don't blame any of you – the sky struggled after the first storms at SW Sydney early in the afternoon. Even the first storm that eventually became the supercell at Faulcanbridge struggled early. What happened after that was history – not often do you see such a localised region explode like it did for an hour or two.

  7. Jimmy Deguara

    Michael Keene, you brought up another point – Sydney is becoming difficult to chase – virtually impossible and exhausting! Even going through Penrith can be exhausting! I have to say we were lucky from that perspective! This was one of the first time in a long time that the traffic through Penrith was not that bad at the 4pm mark. And the same goes to the road near North Richmond – usually a parking lot! I also initially went down towards Campbelltown for the storm to collapse on top of me near Liverpool.

  8. Jimmy Deguara

    Michael Keene, you brought up another point – Sydney is becoming difficult to chase – virtually impossible and exhausting! Even going through Penrith can be exhausting! I have to say we were lucky from that perspective! This was one of the first time in a long time that the traffic through Penrith was not that bad at the 4pm mark. And the same goes to the road near North Richmond – usually a parking lot! I also initially went down towards Campbelltown for the storm to collapse on top of me near Liverpool.

  9. Jimmy Deguara

    Just updated the report with the latest images from the Putty supercell – I guess we can safely call it a supercell given the size of the hail, a hail spike and deviation from the mean level wind on radar etc. Thanks for Dave Croan last night for reminding me that the base of the supercell was similar to that of the Singleton hailstorm in 2005 that also smashed the windscreen! I also want to remind people we had next to no radar on this section of the chase!

  10. Jimmy Deguara

    Just updated the report with the latest images from the Putty supercell – I guess we can safely call it a supercell given the size of the hail, a hail spike and deviation from the mean level wind on radar etc. Thanks for Dave Croan last night for reminding me that the base of the supercell was similar to that of the Singleton hailstorm in 2005 that also smashed the windscreen! I also want to remind people we had next to no radar on this section of the chase!

  11. Nick Moir

    I thought I’d add in what I did after we left Jimmy in Putty. I was hoping the storm would hold itself together and come into the Hunter and looking at the inflow band as we moved nth from Putty I was pretty eager but as you can see although the clouds were great the storm was weakening late in the arvo

  12. Ben McBurney

    I think I know where all the large hail cases have been hiding the last 10 years… in the midst of the Wollemi National Park :) I'm surprised how often you head up that road.. its is one place I try to avoid if I can!

  13. Ben McBurney

    I think I know where all the large hail cases have been hiding the last 10 years… in the midst of the Wollemi National Park :) I'm surprised how often you head up that road.. its is one place I try to avoid if I can!

Leave a Reply