Michael Thompson's Australian
Storm Chase Diary
10th February 2007 - Southern Highlands to
Illawarra Coast, NSW
photos (except video
stills ) clickable for larger size
Canyonleigh, just west of Moss Vale
Early convection west of Moss Vale
At last the moisture that has eluded the Southern
Highlands so far this summer was here. Today was not a day
for structure, storms were embedding in showery masses, tending to
disorganised convergence areas. One such area focused near Canyonleigh,
just west of the Hume Highway near Moss Vale.
Once again I had chaser converegance with Nowra chaser PingTang. We
watched for ubout 30 mins as a storm tried to organise. Just as it was
looking the goods it quickly became outflow dominated. I followed the
storm SW onto the Hume highway, not a wise move as this road is very
dangerous in this type of weather. I was surprised when 1 to 2cm hail
started falling - this immediately had an impact on the highway with
traffic chaos. Motorists tring to pull off and under trees, another
driver had virtually parked on the highway.
short video of the Highway hail is below
The hail did not last long and after 20mins the whole storm had decayed
in a general rain area.
I preceeded home thinking that my day was over. I was pleasantly
surprised that congestus towers were organising under the old anvils
near the Illawarra escarpment. This is not normal as anvil blowoff does
a pretty good job of killing convection on the coast. It was another
convergence line, this time focused right on the escarpment edge. I was
further encoraged when after descending the infamous Macquarie pass I
saw lightning over the coast.
Now after sunset I headed towards the eastern shore of Lake Illawarra
to a location that offers a great setup for night time lightning.
The storm at
Canyonleigh is just about to become outflow dominated
Lake Illawarra, looking west to
Not long after I started taking
some lightning shots I noticed a suspicious lowering. A first I
dismissed it as a cloud tag, but in hindsight I am not certain the
funnel like structure actually lasted 7 minutes, during that time it
moved southwards along the convergence line. I drove the area the next
day, but could not find even the smallest twig out of place. So I do
not know? any opinions readers ?