Michael Thompson's Australian Storm Chase Diary

Several storms - several days - a pictorial 23rd Jan - 2nd Feb 2004

I have lumped together a collection of photos taken over this period. I went on a few small chases, but was mostly stuck at work.

23rd January 2003 - Storms in weak shear environment.

By the time I left work at 4pm I had to drive through three lines of outflow junk..........


...........before finally striking a updraft at Grabben Gullen near Goulburn
A rain / hail shaft is illuminated by the setting sun Mammatus was all that as left by sunset


24th January 2003 - Hail storms - Illawarra and Southern Highlands.
A small but well defined updraft base..even a small vault, hail was falling just off to the right..... ..........an outflow boundary was set up from the small hailstorm in the previous photo, a line of congestus formed on the boundary.
Another storm and another fall of hail, this photo does not do justice to this storm, we experienced some nice CG's and 5 mins of 1-2cm hail. Near Bundanoon..video still Courtesy of Bryce Hawkins


28th January - Storms along east coast and eastern ranges
From my window at work an explosive updraft...it looks much more severe than it was. That night very small and high based cells put on a small lightning show about 50kms ( 30 miles ) offshore..were surface moisture was just a little better.


30th January 2004 - Storms in a better sheared environment - but intruding low moisture keeps thing under control.
A nice closed low was located to the S/SE, we were in the dry sector, however the combination of weak seabreeze and an upper trough triggered storms right on the coast............ As even drier air intruded any chance of severe storms retreated offshore..like this storm with a light overshoot and small backshear ( obscured by cumulus junkus )


2nd February 2004. A hailstorm that causes close to $1mil in damages to the southern Illawarra
At work again..darn...here on the northern flank of a guster that forced eastwards. Very turbulent skies. This shot is looking SE more towards the severe part of the storm, note the rain being swept forward of the guster on the left ocean horizon. Hundreds of cars in the Shellharbour shire now sport hail dents.