Category Archives: Lightning

Lightning and storms

Rotating Base and Hook Echo Grafton to Yamba supercell

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rotating base with hook echo on radar

Rotating Base and Hook Echo Grafton to Yamba supercell 1st January 2018

A spectacular day in north east NSW with a supercell producing a hook echo. With a target of Coffs Harbour to Grafton, everything timed to perfection. I ended up having lunch at Coffs Harbour and ventured north with a full tank of fuel. 

rotating base with hook echo on radar

rotating base with hook echo on radar

Conditions were meant to be ideal for supercells and low bases. Perhaps the upper levels were a little warmer than ideal but with sufficient heating and dew points, the cap would be over come and storm tops reach high up. Upper level shear was excellent thanks to an upper level sub-tropical jet!

The first cell developed almost in timing when I was near Nana Glen. An anvil greeted me and streamed off overhead. The side anvil although immensely crisp showed signs this storm was not mucking around. At Glenreagh, it became apparent that viewing would be difficult due to the lowered bases! I knew this region and immediately relocated in the region 10 to 15 kilometres north. Although just in sunshine, the base presented itself with a lowering. At first I scoffed it off but within the next 20 minutes it became organised showing rotating wall cloud structure! 

Wall cloud and Hook Echo on radar appears!

Fortunately, I had for the first time realised there was a road option and I followed it to the Pacific Highway. Disaster! My camera could not shoot with an error! A base was clearly turbulent and likely rotating overhead! IPhone time! But as if nothing had happened, with a little less panic and fiddling with the camera, it worked and I got the shots. 

No enroute to Grafton, radar indicated a direct course to Yamba. And it was possible to keep up! The hook behaviour could clearly be observed with with hail shafts in a circular fashion at the read of the storm. Finally at Meclean, I was in time to observe the low base and inflow streamers. Dew points along the coast including Yamba were 26C! Insane! The combination of this and sufficient heating allowed the storm to traverse the coastline. Added to the spectacle were the pulsating bolts - obviously a new updraft exploding overhead. The bolts were dropping in front of the structure!

rotating base with hook echo on radar

rotating base with hook echo on radar

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

See : 128km Radar Loop for Grafton, 13:00 31/12/2017 to 13:00 01/01/2018 UTC

Hunter Valley Storms 30th December 2017

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Hunter Valley Storms 30th December 2017

A marginal day with Hunter Valley storms already firing once I had the opportunity to leave. Headed up the freeway and ended up in time for the second round of non-severe though marginally severe storms. The storms seems to not have sufficient energy to really get to the next level.


The storms according to the models were meant to fire late on the Mid North Coast and the first severe warned storm did make to just south of Port Macquarie. The second round of storms fired in the region near Maitland to its north and near Cessnock to its south.


Supercell Outbreak Darling Downs and NE NSW 26th December 2017

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Supercell Outbreak Darling Downs and NE NSW 26th December 2017

Models had been excited for about a week with the possibility of a supercell outbreak including some intense supercells across SE Qld and North West Slopes and Plains. The instability was in place together with a likely dryline further west. The convergence of boundaries and this dryline coupled with favourable shear profiles produced ideal conditions for supercells.

The cap held down throughout the afternoon and eventually the storms exploded first in NSW and then in SE Qld. Three isolated supercells developed across the Darling Downs allowing for sufficient space for energy. One particular supercell produced hailstones to 11cm in diameter!

Unfortunately, we made a wrong move and took bad road options although we slavaged a chase with a storm coming to and across the border of NSW to Queensland. This was to be the 3rd supercell in a line from the northern intense supercell. Although it seems a wall cloud was in view in specific phases, it was not sustained and then outflow dominated any attempt to organise. Updrafts can be clearly seen to rotate. Lightning was pretty intense in some of the phases particularly once the storms punched into the upper atmosphere.

Another storm intercepted briefly on the way amongst a break in the rain near Inglewood.


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