STORM CHASING 2012-2013

I woke in Inglewood today after crashing here post-chase .

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Killing time in the morning is always hard for me because I never know exactly where storms will start firing. Obviously, the aim is to be there when that happens but all I can do is keep an eye on the obs and radar.. and of course, the sky.

So often, I've found that the first little cell to fire isn't the one that turns into the best storm. That rule got broken today.

The models suggested activity to the S and SW of the SE Qld district. I figured Inglewood was probably too far W so I decided on Warwick as a starting point.

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On the way to Warwick I switched to Stanthorpe. East of Stanthorpe things would tricky as the roads become a dog's breakfast of mountains and trees thanks to the Great Diving Range. Two small areas of rain had just appeared on radar near Tenterfield. This is the view facing SE near Willson's Downfall, just E of Stanthorpe:

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Even with Google maps and a GPS it was tricky to determine whether there was a decent road directly to Tabulam from here. The highway would take 1.5 hours which was too long and would require a core punch, something I'd rather avoid. I gave the direct route a crack on a road that the GPS identified as "unpaved". That's one way of putting it. Torturous mountain-goat track would be another. The road started out not too bad for my little front-wheel-drive Lancer wagon, but it didn't take long for the road to degrade to the point of making navigation tricky. I started to seriously doubt this was a valid option at the same time as realising I'd probably have to turn around and do this slow trip the other way round as well. I slipped a little on a couple of the steep grades and finally conceded defeat. Wish I'd kept my old Suby.

I returned to a point in the road that had a partial view of the SE toward the storm and shot a timelapse of the NW'ly flow into it, which can be found in the video below.

Another view on the way back to Willson's Downfall showed a lovely cirrus crown to this storm, making it all the more difficult to turn my back on it.

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The only other way to get in front of this storm was to go N to Warwick, then E through Killarney and Rathdowney. This defiant storm was tracking from the main range to the border ranges. It was avoiding the roads like I was avoiding the mountains. In hindsight, if I'd darted to Tabulam on the main highway as soon as the cell appeared, I probably would've made it ok. Oh well.

I got one more glimpse of the storm's potential before I had to completely turn my back on it and go back to Warwick:

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It was in Warwick that I waited a while for those "other better cells" to make themselves known. That didn't happen. Until I left, of course.

With nothing else happening at the time, I finally decided to head E and do the best I could. Things then actually started to time out pretty well for a while. As I drove through Killarney and Woodenbong, new cells started popping up around me, threatening to engulf me. It was now I discovered a nice little cell on radar near Allora that I would've preferred, although it didn't actually last that long, so it was probably for the best that I didn't wait around near Warwick.

NE of Woodenbong, and I seemed to be almost perfectly positioned for the main cell which I thought I would never reach, having taken the long way round. The structure at the this point was looking quite impressive. The next few shots are facing ENE as I track NE up the Mt Lindesay Hwy NE of Woodenbong:

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I kept following it to Rathdowney.

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And stopped again a little further N.

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The storm was moving away from me and, again, the only way to follow it was to go up to Beaudesert and around to Canungra. I kind of gave up on it at this point, figuring I'd never make it. I waited around in Beaudesert as some other related activity was arriving from the WSW, but it turned out to be nothing more than rainfall.

Interesting that in the end, for Brisbane there was only ever moderate rainfall mainly restricted to the southern suburbs.

Here's some video of the chase from Tenterfield to Rathdowney, including the timelapse from near Willson's Downfall:

A couple of nice black cores in the following radar loops. Also, the doppler winds look interesting and suggest possible rotation between 5:49pm and 6:19pm: