Category Archives: Hailstorms

Storms that produce hailstones

Severe storms and storm chase 26 January 2020

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Severe storms and storm chase 26 January 2020

During the afternoon of January 26 2020, my wife and I initiated a storm chase that took us from Blacktown to Colo Heights then back to Parramatta.

A number of small storm cells were observed across outer North West Sydney early to mid afternoon which warranted further investigation. These remained relatively small although as we drove north along Putty Road from Windsor, one cell began to dominate all the other cells. This was fortunate because this was the cell that we were targeting.

We drove directly underneath the cell and parked the car and waited for the rain which hit us. This cell produced a significant downpour and strong winds but no hail. Following its passage, we drove further north to a clearing to observe the cell. This storm cell produced a microburst further east prior to the storm going into decline.

Severe storms and storm chase 26 January 2020

Another thunderstorm cell was observed to the west and while photos were taken it had a shorter life span and was not as strong as the first storm.

After speaking to Jimmy who identified new updraft towers to our south, we turned around and identified the clouds and the new updraft towers to consider. I knew that we could get this cell and decided to drive all the way to Parramatta from near Colo Heights.

Severe storms and storm chase 26 January 2020

The storm intensified significantly as we drove further south east towards it. I was driving while my wife, Katya was taking the necessary photos. This storm produced a sizeable rain free base that was quite low and had interesting structure including strong updraft towers.

Severe storms and storm chase 26 January 2020

I managed to keep abreast of this storm all the way into Parramatta along James Ruse Drive then able to find a suitable clearing off James Ruse Drive to enjoy the event.

This storm produced in the Parramatta area, significant and damaging winds, even a microburst and small hail up to approximately 1 cm in size and significant heavy rain. Small branches were snapped off trees by the combined force of the wind, hail and rain.

Severe storms and storm chase 26 January 2020

Following this event, the storm went into sharp decline and 1 hour later there was little evidence of this this event other than remnant anvil cloud.

This marked the conclusion of a solid storm chase in which two strong storms were intercepted and a third cell being documented close to our position.

The images to support this post are taken by my wife Katya and myself as we took turns to take photos for the day.

Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

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Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

The images provided in this post were taken around Auburn / Lidcombe and Berala on the afternoon of December 20 2018 during a prolific thunderstorm event that saw a number of significant storms impact areas of Sydney.

Sydney severe storms December 20 2018
Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

A number of these storms were supercells and two of these storms impacted Auburn within a space of 2 hours.

Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

After I had finished work at around 4.30 pm, a thunderstorm passed over Auburn that produced small hail. Following the passage of this storm, a more significant cell was observed to track NE and had the characteristics of a classic supercell. This cell also passed over Auburn although the hail core passed just to the east of my location. My wife and I stood on the Auburn car park roof to watch this event and we could hear the distant roar of hail fall to our east. As it was, sporadic hail fell where we were.

Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

Following its passage, I drove to Lidcombe to a park where my wife and I were able to document hail 2 to 3 cm in size that had fallen within that area.

I was surprised to see another storm cell form to the south and a much more significant storm forming to the west. The storm cell to the west was moving at speed towards us so I decided to drive down to Berala to ensure that it passed over us.

Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

After parking the car, we had plenty of time to watch what it did. The core passed overhead where we were in Woodburn Road. Berala was hit hard which included two separate hail bursts and my wife and I were documenting hail up to 4 cm in size. Occasionally we heard the noise of large hailstones hitting the roofs of buildings which could suggest larger hailstones falling although sporadically. The largest hailstones that my wife and I could verify were around 4 cm in size. It was too dangerous to be walking the streets due to the amount of cloud to ground lightning that was occurring.

Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

As it was, the storm produced local flooding around Auburn and Berala.

Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

The storms that swept Sydney and other locales during this afternoon were the costliest thunderstorm event since April 14 1999. A review of the Insurance Council of Australia webpage has revealed that the damage from this storm event (Several storms included) tallied $1,038,704,566 as at February 14 2019 with significant losses occurring around Casuala, Oran Park, Liverpool, Mona Vale, Berowra and Gosford. Of the 3,600 calls for help, 1,100 were from the Liverpool area. There were 118,886 insurance claims including 26,322 household claims and 78,221 motor vehicle claims.

Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

This storm event easily surpassed the December 9 2007 event partly due to the number of storm cells that occurred and area affected and of course, it impacted Sydney during the late afternoon peak hour period.

Sydney severe storms December 20 2018

A stormy October 2020

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The month of October 2020 has seen a number of days in Western Sydney where thunderstorms have occurred being the 12, 15, 18, 24, 29 and the 31 being a total of 6 days. A majority of the events have been non severe although a number have produced hail. The number of storm days is above average and is a complete turnaround when compared to October 2019.

In particular, the storm event of Thursday afternoon while non severe where I live lasted for almost 1 hour and produced a sustained shower with varying rainfall intensities. The storm did not produce hail where I live.

On Saturday 31 October, there was a 2 hour window between 11 am and 1 pm in which storm cells broke out again across Sydney. One cell developed to the west over the Warragamba Dam and tracked east. Two additional cells developed to the north and a storm chase was initiated.

A stormy October 2020

While the storm to the south looked interesting, it was already moving east across Sydney and it would not have been possible to chase it through Sydney suburbs. A new cell developed to the north and my wife and I decided to chase this cell. The cloud tower the focus of the chase produced a pileaus cap and strong updrafts for a period.

A stormy October 2020

Unfortunately this cell quickly merged with a weakening cell and while photos were taken of another cell to the east, the four storm cells tracking across Sydney all merged to produce a complex which spilled off to the coast. A wind change passed through and storm development was soon suppressed. By 1.30 pm, all storm activity across Sydney ceased due to a wind change.

A stormy October 2020
A stormy October 2020

Interestingly, weaker late afternoon storms have occurred after 4.30 pm following a short period of sunshine.

A stormy October 2020

Severe weather and associated thunderstorm activity has been a feature across much of eastern Australia over the past week including hailstorm events at or near Dubbo, Tamworth, Toowoomba in Queensland, Brisbane and other localities. Flash flooding has occurred at Tumbarumba (NSW) and downpours have occurred across Brisbane. One particular event struck the New South Wales South Coast town of Ulludulla on the morning of the 31 in which 100 mm of rain fell between 9 am and 1 pm. Ulludulla received 117.6 mm of rain between 9 am and 1 pm and a locality west of Moruya (Plumwood) on the same day received 154 mm between 9 am and 4 pm.

The images produced in this post relate to the storm event of the 31/10/2020 most of which were taken between 11 am and 1 pm.

I have also attached the Brisbane radar image of 3.48 pm and dated the 31/10/2020 which is showing a significant thunderstorm event across Brisbane Saturday afternoon. No less than 9 strong cells are event at the time and a number would contain hail.

A stormy October 2020
A stormy October 2020
A stormy October 2020
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