without time / date can be clicked on for a larger image - thanks to
Jane O'Neill for supply of some digital images
1, 25th November 2000 - Home to Coonabarabran, 579kms, Weak storms.
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.
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.
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.
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.