STORM CHASING 2008-2009

Thanks first and foremost to my good friend Drewy for the magnificent view this evening, which produced an image that made the Courier Mail on Mon 8 Dec!

For a day where the Bureau did not forecast storms, nature turned on quite a light show.

The conditions were always reasonable, but I think a lack of moisture was the main concern. Eventually, during the day the forecast went from fine, to a possible shower or thunderstorm to a severe thunderstorm warning. What we ended up with was an awesome shelf cloud and brilliant lightning display!

With storms forming along a line, I couldn't decide whether to go north or south. Here's the last radar I saw just before I left:

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First stop was a local lookout in Springwood for a view of the upper two cells above. The larger northern cell is on the right, and the middle cell on the left with the sun poking in between:

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It's difficult to make out on the photo above but it looked to me like both cells were developing nice gustfronts.

My new best friend Drew was staying on the 22nd floor of the Park Regis Hotel in the city. I'd already written off the northern cell, assuming I was too late, but decided to go for the bolt into town anyway. A beautiful gust front became visible as I approached the city with lightning constantly flickering around it.

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The traffic inbound was great until just outside the city where it became a nightmare, even at 6:30pm, and while I missed a proper view of the gustfront (which was now on top of me), I just made it to Drewy's hotel room for the approaching lightning. The display easily made the trip worthwhile.

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For the time being, most of the lightning activity seemed to be focused just W of the city.

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The following image is a 100% crop of the previous shot:

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Suncorp Stadium is on the right below, where violinist Andre Rieu delayed the start of his concert because of the storms:

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The booms of thunder from these bolts made our building shake. I wondered out loud what it would sound like if our hotel got hit. I didn't have to wonder long. The sound was like a sizzling or crackling noise and was like nothing I'd ever heard before... even having been close to a few bolts on previous occasions. The thunder and lightning occured at the same time.

I can't be 100% sure, but I suspect the next image is where lightning struck our building. A small straying branch is visible at the top and the bright light from the bolt is reflected on the William Jolly Bridge and nearby buildings:

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Here's another 100% crop of the above image which shows a closer view of the bolt and raindrops lit up by the lightning:

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As the storm progressed north-eastwards over us, lightning activity became more visible down the Brisbane river to our south:

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Hitting a crane at South Bank:

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And a close-up of the crane:

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Lightning lands near the Gabba where a Qld-SA one-day match had to be abandoned:

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This one made it into the Courier Mail on the following monday.

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And another crop for good measure:

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It eventually continued on its merry way over the sea, but another smaller cell was forming south around Beaudesert:

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It didn't last long however and soon died.

During the Brisbane storm, 30,000 homes and business lost power, power lines were brought down in a dozen different locations, and a 10-metre section of a pine tree pierced the roof and floor of a Taringa home after the tree was struck by lightning.