STORM CHASING 2015-2016

UPDATE: Tue 1 Dec 2015

Unsurprisingly, this storm caused significant damage (source ABC News):

  • Roofs torn off more than a dozen houses in Warwick
  • Power cut to 20,000 homes
  • Golf ball and larger hail in Rocklea, Acacia Ridge, Archerfield and Corinda
  • 107,000 lightning strikes
  • 72mm of rain in 30 mins at Harrisville
  • 128 calls to SES from around Goodna, Moggill and Riverview

On Tuesday afternoon (1st Dec) I saw a good number of large to very large branches down around Camira from this storm:

1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800

One of the craziest today. With gusty and possibly severe storms forecast for the Darling Downs and SE Qld regions, and with some early weak activity forming around midday, I was worried stuff would fire all over the place and become widespread, making it difficult to chase.

With some very nice updrafts early around Jimboomba it was tempting to stick with them, but my heart was on the Downs. I took a punt and started for Allora. Around Aratula, I noticed a good cell on radar approaching Warwick. I made it to Clintonvale, just NE of Warwick where it was developing nicely:

1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800

I ducked back E to near Gladfield as the storm started to wind up:

1200x800

And then Maryvale:

1200x800 1200x580 1200x800 1200x800 1200x511

The only problem with this location is that heading back over the range meant limited to no visiblity for a while. It felt like being chased by a giant tarantula:

1200x800

I stopped on the other side of Aratula where a new updraft was exploding to the SE:

1200x800

There didn't seem to be much coming over the range and for a second I thought this new SE updraft would be one to chase. The Maryvale storm must've been moving slower than expected as it was still behind the range. It showed no signs of weakening on radar though so I continued N up the Cunningham Hwy stopping at Coleyville, where it was definitely now visible with smoke being sucked into the updraft:

1200x800 1200x800

As the storm reached the fire the smoke was then blown outwards from the outflow:

1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800 1200x514

It was time to go so I headed NE a bit, stopping for another photo:

1200x591 1200x462

The storm was starting to close in with rain wrapping around the N and S side of the main section. I stopped again at Purga where the rain was already falling

1200x800 1200x800 1200x800

This is where things always get tricky as one says goodbye to the great views and enters the Brisbane city limits and its traffic woes. I turned right onto the Augusta Parkway to try and get ahead of the rain as the storm tracked almost directly E. This is being forced S into the storm before the road veers E:

1200x800

I emerged from the rain somewhere on the Augusta Parkway and stopped at Springfield. The structure was becoming less defined but at this point a CG (cloud to ground lightning) barrage started with some huge bolts landing as close as 100m:

1200x469 1200x800 1200x800 1200x800

From here it was a treacherous drive to get back ahead of the storm which wasn't slowing. It caught me near Carole Park smashing golf ball size hail as I went from the Centenary Mwy to the Logan Mwy E-bound.

I finally managed to get back ahead of it, but it wasn't for long. Rain was wrapping around to the N again thwarting my NE plan.

1200x800 1200x800

I considered Wynnum or Manly, but there was no point. The rain was soon on me and I would never get out of it while I was off the highway. At this point I was pretty much done.

I decided to head back to Carole Park to check out the hail but it was gone by the time I arrived.

A flanking cell had formed to the immediate W of the first, so I sat on the edge of the Centenary Hwy at Richlands enjoying some huge CGs.

The sun was starting to looking amazing through the storms so went back to my spot at Springfield for some great sunset mammatus:

1200x630 1200x800 1200x671

The lightning really took off as the storms continued NE over Brisbane:

1200x800 1200x800 1200x800

At this point I noticed a beautiful sunset anvil to the distant S when a huge positive clear air bolt jumped out of the top of it. Turns out it was way down into NSW around Bonalbo. With big positives jumping out of it however, I decided to head back down the Ipswich-Boonah Rd to Purga to get a better view. Unfortunately, by the time I got there the storm was weakening with cloud spreading out obscuring the view. So I continued S to Boonah then home to Mundoolun.

With so many Darling Downs chases this season, the costs are becoming noticeable with fuel and toll costs just for November totalling over $700. Still, it's been a cracker of a season and one must make hay while the hail falls :)