STORM CHASING 2014-2015

Things were looking good for the Darling Downs today. A tongue of good instability stretched SW to NE from Moree to Dalby and beyond as well as decent inflow and moisture. A southerly change was also forecast which came through SE Qld in the morning producing some nice storms at home before heading out. A neat little entree.

Storms started between Inglewood and Goondoowindi around 2pm. Having left home around 1pm I raced over the range, stopping at Leyburn at 3:20pm for fuel and a scene from The Birds (Cockatoo version):

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I pushed on and got a great view of the storm just SE of Cecil Plains where things were looking GREEN:

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This storm had plenty of hail inside and it dumped the worst of it over Chinchilla 120kms to the NW.

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I'm often mesmerised by these spectacular storms. It is difficult to describe the sense of presence they have as they approach so - as usual - I headed off too late. I was forced NW on a road that ran sideways across the storm, instead of NE away from it, at least until I got to Cecil Plains.

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I really wanted to be further NW where it was looking really nasty:

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Shortly after this the storm caught me as I got belted with very strong winds and heavy rain. I really wanted to be in front of it, so I stubbornly continued for what felt like an eternity driving in horrible conditions. Murphy's Law dictated that I was being slowed down most when I needed to go faster.

I emerged in one piece NE of Dalby about an hour later.

If there's any local photo that reminds me of chasing in the States it's the next one. Strong outflow winds blow dust up and across the ground somewhat resembling a funnel contacting the ground. Exciting stuff.

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When I got back ahead of the storm proper, the front wasn't as spectacular as I had hoped.

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Up on a nice view and it was pretty amazing seeing a very turbulent sky with the dust being kicked up underneath:

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The sky darkened as I continued N (roughly E of Jandowae) as I tried for photos of lightning, which was only very sporadic with not many forks visible.

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Lightning was very infrequent at this stage - about once every five minutes - so I was happy to be rewarded for my patience with this one:

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Then came the very dull 3.5 hr drive home. Hard not to love a day chasing the Downs though.