Michael Thompson's Australian Storm Chase Diary
27th November 2006 - Severe storms, Northern Tablelands, NSW

All photos (except video stills ) clickable for larger size

First storm of the day near Ebor
Storm begins to dump hail
The first storm of the day organises near Ebor

Storm is dumping large hail

At long last the promise of some reasonable action within a days drive. The models slowly strengthened the setup for the 27th November 2006, finally settling for CAPE values near 3000j/kg. However the day had to still struggle for early moisture and the CAP was quite strong. I targeted the Northern Tablelands of NSW. At noon near Guyra and there was hardly a scrap of cloud in the sky. Dewpoints had me concerned and the earlier NE wind (best) had swung more NW. I moved eastwards more towards Ebor hoping for the combination of higher latitude ( 1200-1300m ) and finding the seabreeze boundary. By 1pm the first cumulus developed. It was at this point I had chaser convergence with Jimmy Deguara. At around 2pm the sky exploded with a storm near Ebor. We headed east into the interesting core. We encountered some large hail to 5cm, just enough to add more dents to the car.

A 10mb video of the hail and lightning can be found here.

Hail near Ebor
Video still: Hail near Ebor
Close CG
Video Still Close CG

The sat pic below shows the boundaries that we played with. The RED line is a weak dryline, separating moist NE/SE winds from drier NW/W winds. The BLUE line is a weak trough. The YELLOW dot was our location at the time this picture was taken.

Satellite picture

After about 15mins the scattered hail let up as the storm drifted N/NE. The road option that we had to keep in touch with the storm was limited to a minor dirt road. We took this option - the eastern most road on the tablelands. The road was very rough and at times had grass growing down the middle. Unfortunately the road finally took a more NW swing away from the storm and we headed back to the town of Glen Innes. At Glen Innes I booked into a local motel and had some dinner. Whilst eating dinner I noted the increase in lightning to the west. I went back to the motel and collected my gear for some night lightning pictures. The motel has been invaded by storm chasers with a crew of four from Victoria, and two other chasers from South Australia. After brief pleasantries I went off the photograph the lightning. The storms at Glen Innes were located west of the moist seabreeze, however outflow from earlier storms provided boundaries and a pinch of moisture to get things rolling. By 9pm all vacant sky had been filled with weak, but lightning active storms. Overnight the whole lot merged into a convective complex.

A lower base on the seabreeze convergence
Poor road options
A lower base on the seabreeze convergence

The poor road option we were faced with

West of Glen Innes near sunset
Moisture working inland at last
A storm west of Glen Innes late in the day

Moisture from outflow of storms further east started to help these weaker storms

an ominous base
Video still: An ominous base
Glen Innes
Video Still: Glen Innes