STORM CHASING 2014-2015

A cracker of a day with an 800km squall line running from Carnarvon Gorge in Queensland to Port Macquarie on the mid N coast of NSW. Everyone in SE Qld got a go.

The only thing I had to decide was how far inland I wanted to drive before intercepting. As usual, I left things a bit late and met the line at Maryvale. The view coming over Cunningham's Gap was incredible:

1200x800

This thing looked like a huge wave as I stopped at Maryvale.

1200x800 1200x800 1200x800

You might notice the next photo is made from three disparate shots which were never intended to be a panorama. I bunged them together anyway to offer a sense of the whole line.

1200x406

This shelf cloud had such an incredible presence which is impossible to convey in words or pictures. It felt like this huge wave was just going to crash on me. Incredible feeling.

1200x800 1200x800

This solid guster was mesmerising and it wasn't till it was almost on top of me that I got out of there.

1200x800 1200x800

I stopped at Aratula for another look as the shelf cloud's structure weakened but the winds lost none of their ferocity.

1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800

The wind picked up suddenly again as the outflow hit, knocking my tripod over (luckily sans camera). I was trying to work out which part of the line might strengthen but couldn't really tell by looking at it. According to the radar, part of the line I couldn't see near Marburg and Amberly intensified but I would never arrive in time so I continued E to Boonah.

1200x800

At this point the gust front and RFB started to stretch out way ahead of the rain, making it difficult to get back ahead of it. It didn't take long for the rain to arrive here in Boonah so I continued on towards Beaudesert.

1200x800 1200x800

This storm was honking and I was struggling to keep up as I got into Beaudesert.

1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800

Staying ahead of a storm can be hit and miss depending on factors like storm speed, road speed zones and traffic. Once the rain hits, the wet conditions also slow you down. This line was doing a solid 60kmh, and despite every effort to get ahead of it and eye its developing shelf cloud again, it beat me to the coast by a mile - no thanks to the winding roads around the Tamborine mountain range.

It was bucketing down as I got as far E as I could go at Jacobs Well. I waited for some nice crawlers at the rear of the storm but only saw a couple.

1200x800

While I was unable to recover the lead, I'm glad to have seen this squall line during its monster phase just W of the range.

This storm did produce some strong wind gusts with reports of several gustnadoes (similar to a tornado but usually weaker and forming under the gust front instead of emanating from a wall cloud).