STORM CHASING 2005-2006

Travelled today: 378kms | Travelled so far: 512kms | Allowance: 400kms

My Darwin experience was shared with good friend Jeff McLean from Melbourne. Storm-wise, nothing much happened on Day 1 (Tue 13 Dec) so after acquiring a hire car, we spent the day familiarising ourselves with Darwin and trying to find some good lookouts.


Today (Wed 14 Dec) we decided to head inland early and wait for any activity. In the early afternoon several weak cells dumped some light to moderate rain but it wasn't until 4:55pm that we heard our first Top End rumble of thunder near Acacia, about 50kms down the Stuart Hwy from Darwin.

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We drove a little further south to try and meet what was becoming a line of storms heading west. After pulling over, a few CGs (cloud-to-ground lightning strikes) started dropping as the storms moved towards us. CGs were now landing about 3kms away, with each subsequent CG a little closer to us. It didn't take long to realise that standing out in the open here was not such a hot idea. We waited till they got a little closer (about 1km) then got back in the car as rain started to fall. Another CG landed closer, then a flang only a couple of hundred metres away, with an awesome crack of thunder which made heading out today worthwhile, even if we saw nothing else.

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As the line very slowly drifted away from us, we decided to head back north up the highway to get us onto a road leading SW back towards the storm.

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A small bit of mammatus became visible on our way.

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The storm continued to let out regular flashes of lightning until it got dark when we got some very nice crawlers.

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As the lightning eased, the moon was rising so I took a 1-min time-exposure.

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