During the afternoon of Saturday 2 December 2023, I undertook a storm chase to an area just south of Sydney taking in the following localities:
- Hume Freeway corridor between Campbelltown to the north and Mittagong to the south.
This turned out to be a solid storm chase and the best so far this season. Thunderstorms were more structured than those encountered of Wednesday 29 November 2023. There were 3 hail events around the Southern Highlands town of Mittagong and a further event in a rural area north of Pheasants Nest on the Hume Freeway that I intercepted or observed.
I was in regular contact with Jimmy during this chase and we were guiding each other but in separate cars targeting different parts of the same storm system.
I left home at around 2 pm and travelled south along the M7 Motorway then the Hume Freeway to intercept the first thunderstorm just south of Wilton. An earlier storm cell had weakened and a second cell was also in the throes of weakening. Photos were taken before I left the area.
I then drove to the summit of the Razorback just north of Picton to watch and photograph a new thunderstorm cell form approximately 30 km to the south. I then drove south to Mittagong to intercept a significant storm base that had structure. This cell was producing some strong cloud to ground lightning strikes.
After alerting Jimmy to this cell and taking photos, I drove into town and noted hail had fallen moments earlier. I observed hail on the ground up to 2 cm in diameter and took several photos. The hail swathe on this cell was narrow being no more than approximately 2 km wide and located on the northern side of the shopping district.
I then left that area and drove north east where I intercepted the storm but another part that was producing much larger hail. Some hail of around 2 cm in size was hitting the ground as I entered the Hume Freeway. There was a brief traffic bank up within the area due to this hail.
I drove to the overpass at Hilltop where I stopped only because I was noticing much larger hail stones had fallen at this location. I stopped and discovered fresh hail to 4 cm in size. I took measurements and photos confirming hail up to 4 cm had fallen.
Prior to sunset, an intense rainstorm / thunderstorm swept over the area. I let much of it pass over me to see if there was any further hail in that but there was not. However, once I left and drove further north, I intercepted a hail core in a rural area south of Campbelltown but on the freeway.
I kept up with the storm all the way through Camden then north to Luddenham. I broke out of it at Luddenham. Areas further north missed this event completely.
I returned home just prior to 9 pm having had a solid afternoon chasing and the best for some time.
I have attached my photos and have prepared a Google Earth diagram showing the hail events or hailstorms that I intercepted or documented. It is interesting to note that there were three separate events around Mittagong or surrounds during my time in that location.