STORM CHASING 2005-2006

At around 2:30am I woke for no apparent reason. I thought I could hear very distant rumbling, but it could've been the airport nearby. I thought I saw a flash outside. Some more rumbling. A brighter flash outside and I was finally sure there was a storm somewhere. It seems my subconscious was working while I was asleep.

I decided to hang around a few minutes and see if it was actually coming towards me, as my sleep is precious and I wasn't getting dressed for sheet lightning! The thunder did indeed get louder so I scooted up to the local lookout.

I heard quite few good booms as it got closer, but I saw only three great lightning bolts. The first was my cue to start shooting, the third was in the wrong direction... and this is the second one (facing south):

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I felt pretty lucky to get such great, if few, bolts. However, the show turned out to be but a prelude for the evening to follow.

Around 5pm I saw this on the radar:

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I didn't expect the cell which was still in NSW to reach Brisbane. In the southern suburbs around 7pm I was seeing constant flashes of sheet lightning to the south. This is what the radar looked like, though I didn't know it at the time:

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Without knowing how far it would go, I decided to take the most direct route to the coast, which happened to be Redland Bay. Lightning was incredibly constant, with several flashes per second. On the way to Redland Bay we stopped and got a view of a very nice gustfront that was developing, lightning flashing all the while.

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Crawlers were poking their heads out of the anvil above and ahead of us. We moved on to Redland Bay. A few forks dropped ahead of the front...

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then the rain and wind arrived...

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and some massive cloud to ground lightning bolts, blowing out power.

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The wind was enough to knock the two wheelie bins over.

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Many of these forks fell within a few kms and a good half a dozen were within 1km. This was another of the most incredible flang-fests I'd ever seen! Unfortunately, the majority of ground strikes were obscured by rain, making them tough to photograph.

Hail fell in several places, including the Gabba, cancelling a 20/20 match that was being played. My partner received some minor hail damage in Springwood.

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After a while a second weaker cell came through with a defined front (not as defined as the first) and some lightning, but nothing like the first storm, which was now tracking north towards the Sunshine Coast.

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We drove up a short way towards Victoria Point but most of the activity had moved on further north.

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