I was not originally planning to head out today due to work, but finishing earlier than expected I took off for the Downs around 1:15pm. A smidge late in hindsight, considering the distance, but the storm structure made it worthwhile.
Interception was NW of Jondaryan which is halfway between Toowoomba and Dalby where I was greeted with a still decent looking storm front:
Mammatus formed ahead of the storm:
As the system approached I pushed slightly N to Brymaroo.
At this point the storm was weakening pushing light rain ahead of it as the lightning frequency dropped. I headed a few kms E:
Lighting photography becomes much easier as the sky darkens. Here I was continuous shooting at 0.5s (@F8). Lightning was infrequent but sticking your noggin in the frame to check for raindrops on the lens is a guaranteed lightning-starter:
The rain increased again so I pressed on E to Goombungee where I discovered later that a house had lost its roof due to recent storms.
I tried desperately for decent lightning but the weakening storm wasn't playing ball, offering only occasional sheet lightning. Parts of the structure were still impressive:
Continuing E ahead of the storm meant premature burial in the deep jungles of the Deongwar State Forest between Crows Nest and Esk. Unfortunately, the only other viable alternative was driving through treacle in Toowoomba, so E it was.
Lightning was thankfully rare while there was no outlook to spot it. One benefit of this route, however, was seeing the incredible tree debris resulting from this morning's intense hail core just W of Esk. The place was a mess with several sections of road littered with branches of all sizes. I even saw a foot-wide tree trunk snapped about 3m above the ground alongside many other only slightly narrower trees which had suffered the same fate.
Several Energex trucks were repairing power lines in various different spots reducing one section of road to a single lane. Of particular note though was a couple of large trees whose bark had been cleanly stripped.
I continued on home stopping briefly near Forest Lake for a new cell which popped up tracking NW. Sheet lightning and heavy rain dashed any hope of a last minute branchy lightning photo.