Pictures without time / date can be clicked on for a larger image - thanks to Jane O'Neill for supply of some digital images

Day 1, 25th November 2000 - Home to Coonabarabran, 579kms, Weak storms.
I left home under those skies that typifies my hometown - stratocumulus ( Sc ). The Illawarra is strato-cu heaven. The SE ( Storm Eradicator ) wind was established along the southern coast of New South Wales, but it was weak and I knew that today's trip should at some stage see me passing from that despised wind and into a warmer more unsettled condition. It is an excitement mixed with anticipation that only a chaser could understand. A group of us had targeted the Central Tablelands area of New South Wales as a meeting and evaluation point. On the way I had to drive through thick fog and drizzle on the eastern slopes of the Blue Mountains.

Weak storms featured on day one.By midday and I was out of the drizzle and in scattered stratocumulus at the small town of Gulgong. I certainly had not planned on chasing 5 hours to observe stratocumulus. But this Sc was different, it was not the maritime drizzle master of the coast, this Sc was drier and verged on cumulus, but at this stage the heat had not built sufficiently to push the cumulus to the next stage.

Several other chasers joined the group here, a lookout called Flirtation Hill. A wonderful view, but a hot, grassless and shadeless parking lot best describes the ground zero experience. We watched as to the north the first congestus towers poked above the weak cumulus. Around 2pm a tower finally glaciated about 150km north. We hit the road aiming for the small town of Coolah, the home of the legendary black stump, one day I will actually inquire as to what this black stump thing is all about, they are after all hardly a scarce commodity in the surrounding several thousand kilometres. We caught the remnants of the storm further north at the small town of Tambar Springs nestled at the western end of the Liverpool ranges. We pushed further north to Mallaley ( a town that we would get to visit often ) hoping to get out of the weakening anvil rain and into fresher growth. However the storm was simply too weak to push a outflow boundary of any note. Several larger storms were seen to the north in the Narrabri area. We deemed these as uncatchable and decided Coonabarabran was the best option for the night's stay.

Coonabarabran is not a bad place to spend a night. Even in late November the altitude is high enough to ensure a cool refreshing night. For dinner most of the chasers had take away from the local chinese restaurant, I recommend the Singapore noodles.




The maps show we were lucky to see even weak storms. There was a very weak surface trough aligned NW/SE. The Lift Index figures show that LI's & Relative Humidity increased towards the NW of the state, and we also noted larger storms to the NW of Coonabarabran ( 31S, 149E ). 200level winds were of no consequence. Basically given free choice of days you would not normally start on a day like this.