Sydney storms 9 nov 2012

View from queens park as the storm moved into the CBC from the south west



  • Did everyone see the funnel pics on weatherzone? must have come close to producing

  • Mal Ninnes

    Hi all. It’s nice to join the forum after browsing for so long. I posted my photos from Friday on weatherzone last night before bed and finally have a chance to link here as well (although I think Kane’s already pointed them out):[email protected]/sets/72157631966999964/

    (My favourite is this one:[email protected]/8169128029/in/set-72157631966999964)

    I’d been for a walk up to North Sydney oval just before 1pm, then headed back to work and had lunch. I’d very briefly checked LI’s via ncep/gfs earlier in the day, and had almost written off the chance of anything significant happening in Sydney. Anyhow, as I headed back to my desk after 1:40pm, I noticed the poor visibility to the SW and figured that a storm had finally fired. We have a set of buildings blocking the view to the SSW and SW, so I couldn’t actually see what was approaching. A colleague near the window had the Terrey Hills radar loop loaded, saying “check this out”. I did a double-take when I saw the persistent hook echo over several frames. I almost stole her computer as we checked the doppler and I then proceeded to have another heart-attack after seeing yet another classic signature. Someone on weatherzone commented that it was textbook, to which I’d agree. The detailed storm warning at the time (and after the funnel observation) had no specific mention of destructive winds or the risk (or observation) of any tornado. :-)

    I almost ran back to the NW side of the building to search for rotation – the damn meso was almost on top of us, maybe a km or so to the west, with that menacing low base. Cursed the dirty windows (they were due to be cleaned this weekend!!) and phone camera, but started taking a few pics whilst hunting for the BoM spotters number (never found it).

    Anyhow apart from the first one from north sydney oval, the other pics are from our office on level 12 at 181 Miller St in North Sydney, looking W to NNW. The rotation was quite organised and I was literally waiting for dust and debris clouds to be seen on the ground. The condensation funnel was really trying its best to extend down. A building (cnr berry st & pacific hwy) got in the way of my view as well. Cue the swearing. Within a minute of the last pic, it had moved NE out of view and the rain really set in, dropping some small hail as well (estimated less than 2cm).

    Anyhow, I went for a drive at lunchtime today for the purpose of conducting a damage survey and to also check for any indications of a ground track. After 45 minutes of searching streets in a grid pattern west of the pacific highway, I found no evidence to support a touchdown. (Search area boundaries: NW point = Pacific Hwy and Greenwich Rd, SW = Shirley Rd & Tyron Ave, SE = Pacific Hwy and Crows Nest Rd, NE = Pacific Hwy) I based the search area off visual references from buildings from the photos, plus I have some low quality video as well – will post this later.

    Still don’t know how the bureau managed to miss this. Perhaps they did see it but for some reason didn’t mention anything on the warning?

    Nice video Shane! Even when you’re filming when stationary, it really looks like there is quite quick movement when referenced against the other objects in the video. How far away were you at that point, and what time was it taken?


  • Hey Nick – how about a larger image size?

    Here’s the Sydney morning and afternoon soundings for 9th November

  • Nick Moir

    Attached is a larger versionofmy first image
    Nick moir

  • Mal, thanks for posting this report. The storm was ready to produce and as I mentioned on another post, it seems the storm’s mesocyclone was in an occluding state. From my understanding, this helps tighten the vortex through stretching and can produce funnels and tornadoes. This is the reason why low bases are instrumental in producing far more tornadoes.

    Personally, I don’t think the funnel was low enough to touch down but you have a better perspective Mal given you were there and know the view within your photos.

    As to the Bureau not producing warnings, I have mentioned this time and time before – there seems to be a reluctance to produce warnings for Sydney. Perhaps there is ‘some’ external influence such that warnings have to be 100% guaranteed. Imagine if a warning was put out and the storm failed to arrive in a given area and the so called planned event (football match, parade, etc) got much less numbers of people and of course loss of profits! Who knows. This seems to be a Sydney based warning issue!

  • Con Marathos

    Some great video and still footage of this event from everyone. I’ll add some funnel photos to the collection as well. I finished work on Friday at 1pm to see explosive convection towers to the south west of Rydalmere, headed home and by the time i grabbed the camera the leading edge was putting on a show with the funnel developing and fading over a 30 second timeframe at 13:30pm looking east from Parramatta. The mid shot even shows some interesting rotational features midway down the funnel . Certainly a very dynamic event, Jimmy , video would have been good too. Cheers, Con.

  • Nick Moir

    attaching a series of long lens pix of the base of the storm when it was interesting around 1:35-1:40pm

  • Nick Moir

    a few wider shots from 1:35-140

  • Nick Moir


  • Con Marathos

    Hello Jimmy,
    The storm was motoring , as it moved to the NE I did get some shots of the updraft and flanking line , nice base inder the updraft as well, 1st two shots are at 13:38 and 13:39, the last at 13:46 with a well defined flanking line feeding in. The funnel was photographed ESE of here in Parramatta East, flanking line shots were East of here, Cheers, Con.

  • Thanks for those Con. It seems the supercell was relatively lower topped. But still crisp as shown on your images.

  • Matthew Smith

    some backend structure looking east, a few minutes after the interesting dopplar scan.

  • Matthew Smith

    found it… 28 May 2008 , i have a few others if your interested, before this photo and after.

  • Nice matt this does appear to show a RFD cut, it would be great to see the other pics and hear your observations

  • Jeff Brislane

    There’s no doubt the interaction between the south west wind change and the sea breeze front amplified the storm and eventually resulted in its demise. You can see the triple point intersection near Homebush on the doppler scans. If you watch the whole day you can see north westerly winds in the morning, then the sea breeze comes in and sets up north/south from Hornsby to Homebush and then the southerly/south westerly change with fairly intense cells already developing near Horsely Park. When these cells, riding the wind change meet the sea breeze it amplifies dramtically and then as the cells cross the sea breez front they collapse. Afterwards the sea breeze picks up as a moderate north easterly and we even have some late convection in Western Sydney. BTW can we combine all the discussion of this event?

  • Jeff Brislane

    Sorry for the crude sketching, its the best i can do in 1 minute but it gives a better idea of the general wind flows :-)

  • Jeff Brislane

    Time lapse video of cumulus convection on sunset on the 9th after the north easterly moved into outer western Sydney.

  • Nice illustration of the boundary! I just found it difficult to see where the radar was as a starting point. Thanks for annotating it! That has to be a first!

  • Nick Moir

    Jeff , thanks for that . Triple points gotta lovem

  • Harley Pearman

    Jeff, that is a great illustration of the boundary. Thank you. I noted just prior to the event how the winds were blowing from the west or west north west. As I drove underneath the thunderstorm cloud at Canley Heights and just prior to the rain and hail core, the wind abruptly shifted more of a south westerly then immediately after the storm, I could feel that the winds were from a southerly quarter. During the height of the storm, rain and hail was being driven by high winds at an angle but these did not last long (just a few minutes). I could determine a significant wind change with the passing of the storm over a few minutes. This is one example where I could experience the changing wind direction over such a short time frame.