STORM CHASING 2015-2016

On the third possible storm day in a row, some of the numbers looked good enough to get people excited but again, moisture and shear weren't great. Better than yesterday but not great. I got caught up in the excitement myself, mostly because I had no commitments today so I started chasing from around midday. Which turned out to be a less than optimal use of my time as the weak to average activity that did eventually occur wasn't until later in the day.

Cells would pop up promising more than they could deliver, then promptly collapse on themselves in less than favourable conditions. The first storm of the day occured just S of Mulgowie in the Lockyer Valley. Dry conditions meant high bases and not much structure. But strong upper levels winds meant good mammatus:

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When it died, a mouse-stalking white-tailed Kite and Super Hornets buzzing around Amberley were the only things that kept me entertained:

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Then a very nice updraft S of Canungra took off:

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But like the Mulgowie cell, it didn't take long to die when a new storm sprung up S of Boonah heading NNE:

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Anticipation levels rose as lightning finally erupted from the cell just E of Boonah. I sat at my nifty spot near Coulson awaiting the million dollar branchy bolt which never came. The one major benefit of low shear means storms travel slowly making them easy to keep up with. It was exciting watching this ambivalent cloud push out an impressive cauliflower updraft in one breath, then in the next, exhale exhaustively like it just received socks and undies for its birthday.

Its relentless march N meant I had to eventually reposition, which I did on a road in Purga which saw chaser convergence numbers rivalling Tornado Alley.

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The Boonah cell continued to look photogenic, what with so many cameras pointed towards it, but it contributed nothing to the lightning tracker.

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I considered my next move as the other weaker cell emerging from the range started to look a bit serious. It was high based and lacking structure, but it was throwing out bolts. That was all I needed to get me out of the traffic jam on T-Morrow's Rd and onto a brilliant ridge road in Purga with fabulous W views. My initial plan was to get N of the storm at around Marburg or Laidley, but this turned out to be unnecessary, not to mention time-consuming, as beautiful sunset bolts were dropping now and perfectly visible from Purga.

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What some might consider a bust storm day in Brisbane turned out to be an initially frustrating but ultimately fulfilling day... especially considering the awesome sunset lightning show. Today is the first official day of the storm season, so here's hoping for a good one!