STORM CHASING 2009-2010

The numbers always looked good for today, but I think those who chased a little further away from Brisbane were rewarded for it. Without the forecasting knowledge of some chasers, I tend to play things a little safe, not venturing too far without some solid activity occuring. The obvious downside is that I usually miss anything further away.

Even before midday, healthy cells were firing around Tenterfield and Stanthorpe. Shortly after, stuff started popping up north of Toowoomba, so I sat around wondering which area I should target. The SW cells had progressed NE to Warwick and Killarney. Hoping they would continue I finally took off for Boonah. Here's what I found when I got there at 3:30pm:

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Armed with a fancy new intervalometer (timer cable release) I shot some timelapse footage of this cell. This sequence runs from 3:40pm - 4:30pm, and for the number nuts comprises 942 exposures of 1/100s @ F7.1 for the first part, and 1/40s @ F7.1 for the second part (100 ISO) with a time interval between shots of 3s.

By 4:30pm activity was becoming more widespread:

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Lightning activity was pretty frequent as the northern end of these cells developed and moved east towards me.

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The regular CGs and embedded lightning in front were interupted occasionally by bright intra-cloud lightning directly above:

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At 6:30pm rain forced me north to Peak Crossing where the lightning frequency increased dramatically! This line of storms was flickering constantly, but the huge positive stroke I was hoping for, and expecting, never happened.

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It didn't take long for this now extended line to start dropping light rain so I took off, hoping to head east and stay ahead of it. Without radar I had no idea what was happening and was surprised to hit heavy rain even before the turn-off east, suggesting that activity was bending around to the NE.

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All I could do was floor it and hope to get ahead of it. Having not scored any close CGs so far, I decided to set the camera to continuous shooting (2s exposures @ F9) and wish for the best while driving. Unbelieveably!:

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With this now healthy line looking like it was heading directly east, I met up with good friend Drew at Wellington Pt.

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Here's a 100% crop of the last image which seems to show the towers on Mt Coot-tha being struck!

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Another possible hit of the Mt Coot-tha towers!:

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Now with radar access, we discovered that our east-moving line was now sliding SE. We considered heading south but realised there was little point with rain likely beating us to any spot. So we stayed put and were rewarded with some localised activity which had sprung up.

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At 9:45pm with all lightning activity appearing from the south, we decided to head to a sheltered spot at Rochedale. After half an hour of nothing in this new location, it seemed like it was all over red rover with all lightning activity well out to sea, when a new small cell magically appeared over Brisbane airport, giving us some great forks which made the hanging around worthwhile.

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We eventually finished up around 11pm.