Category Archives: Hailstorms

Storms that produce hailstones

Tuesday afternoon storms with small hail 1/12/2020

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The weather across Sydney 1/12/2020 turned out to be a day of remarkable contrasts. A cloudy morning was following by a long period of heating and sunshine which was then followed by a dramatic late afternoon / evening thunderstorm that produced small hail.

The maximum daytime temperatures occurred late in the day as a result of what occurred. It reached a maximum of 38.5C in Penrith, followed by 38.1C at Richmond, 35C at Blacktown and Horsley Park and 33.6C at Parramatta. It was cooler further east.

Late afternoon, a thunderstorm crossed over much of Sydney and while rainfall totals were not significant (Between 7 and 14 mm of rain), it had a dramatic impact.

The storm event produced maximum peak wind gusts of 106 km/h at Richmond which was enough to bring down trees. Peak wind gusts reached 83 km/h at Penrith between 6.38 pm and 6.47 pm. In addition, lightning strikes caused some power outages and one bell tower attached to a house in Ashfield appears to have been struck by lightning which caused a fire but it was contained to the bell tower structure.

Over Blacktown, a small storm cell formed ahead of the main line of storms which produced small hail in the range of 0.5 mm to 0.9 mm in diameter. My wife and I were able to collect these using a plate before they melted. This storm cell also produced a sharp but brief downburst accompanied with a short heavy burst of rain. This storm cell eventually merged with other storms as the system passed across Sydney. The main line of storms followed shortly afterwards which produced rain and some wind.

Photos of the event are showing developing storms ahead of the main line followed by an interesting storm base. Much of the lightning was within cloud although there were the occasional cloud to ground strikes. The storms were fast moving and all activity had cleared by sunset.

Severe storms and storm chase 26 January 2020

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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.

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.

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.

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.

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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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.

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

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.