Author Topic: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009  (Read 55482 times)

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Offline Adrian

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Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« on: 16 September 2008, 03:00:45 PM »
15 Sept 08

Well .... it appears the Darwin Storm Season is upon us. 

Small electrical storm, South of the city was visible tonight (from the city), watched it for about an hour from 19:20 onwards. Plenty of CC, and the odd CG and crawler.  Sorry no Pics :( will hopefully have the camera back tomorrow.

cheers,
.adrian


Offline Mike

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #1 on: 17 September 2008, 07:01:13 AM »
Yes indeedy.  I was out at the Convention Centre on my lonesome having some dinner during work and swore I saw something flash way out sou'west and yep, there they were CC flashes pretty regular.  There was a nice sized line of storms moving NW from Adelaide River around 7:30 onwards and was collectively lining up.  It stalled as it neared the 60km mark near Darwin as the sea breeze kept it at bay.  Most of the storms were concentrated in an area southwest of Adelaide River as a trough was moving through during the day.  There's a similar set up on Wednesday but don't know if it will produce anything similar....but Pine Creek further down from Adelaide River (which is about 100km from Darwin) got smashed by a large cell on Sunday arvo.  Inland storms associated with a convergence line is the culprit.

It was quite exciting to see some distant lightning at least so early on in the piece.  Don't think I've seen a storm this early in the season since I've been here, but the wet officially starts on Oct1, so not too long to wait now.

Here's the radar loop of our little teaser.

http://radar.strikeone.net.au/?fuseaction=loops.main&radar=632&numberofImages=40&dateStart=1221462000&dateFinish=1221487200
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Offline Mike

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #2 on: 20 September 2008, 06:40:55 AM »
Darwin 18 Sept

Activity from a trough moving through the mid section of the NT created some convection yesterday.  Fairly large dumping in 10 mins from a large cell in the rural area to the west of Darwin.  Smaller falls around my home and made things quite sticky.  Storms fired up again at Pine Creek for the fourth day running.  I think a trip to that locale is on the cards tomorrow arvo.  WZ models show a hefty precip area expected to the west again today and hopefully tomorrow.  A large cell moved through the early hours Thursday morning at that location and split into two - both lightning active but given its location at least 1:30mins drive it was pointless going after it after the fact!

Hector rose yesterday over the Tiwi Islands with lightning recorded.  A bit ragged in structure but tall and not the 'supercell' type shape he normally displays.  Hector is early this season also, he normally does not appear till mid October so perhaps that's an indicator of an early storm season.

We've had NW/NE wind flow which is good also. The NE sea breeze is still keeping things at bay but it's early days and the wet does not officially start until October 1.  From the satpics yesterday there was a line of something (similar to the roll cloud imagery on another thread) moving through the Gulf of Carpentaria - was interesting to see that.  Here's the loop for you.

http://realtime2.bsch.au.com/vis_sat.html?region=nt&loop=yes&images=&allday=&start=200809180033&stop=200809182333

Will keep you all posted when things get 'flangy'
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Offline Mike

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #3 on: 05 October 2008, 03:45:35 PM »
5 October 2008

Surface level moisture has increased dramatically of late.  The past week has seen hot days with a dry surge again but this is expected to weaken over next week's forecast period.  A very long trough which extends from WA to NSW (where you guys are getting all the action!) has its tip just west of the Top End and this is helping things fire up.  Western Victoria River Downs and Labelle areas are getting regular arvo storm cells and lines forming - one today this morning swept offshore on the west coast and would have made for an impressive sight!

Our are in my arera of Durack and rural areas received some welcome shower activity, albeit brief.  Without rain for over 5 months it was nice to see and hear.  CU's have been forming well without too much trouble.  The soundings of late have shown a dry inversion but moisture down low as I mentioned is strengthening.  There was a storm in the rural area during the week which produced some lightning and thunder and close enough to see from the city.

BoM have forecast storms for next week daily and from the obs it all looks healthy.  On average our 'build-up' season storms are severe once they are organized so this year i have my fingers crossed.  They mentioned this season's cyclone activity could be good - at least three they say to make landfall in the NT this time around given the early indications.

The Storm Spotters newsletter I received Friday had some interesting stats on what type of storms we received last year.  A large amount of multicell systems i was glad to see and most of which I intercepted around 2-3am in the morning on some occasions - my Noonamah strike was one which came from a multicell squall line.

Here's some photos of Hector rising last Thursday arvo.  Great to see three towers and a classic MCS character he often displays.  No apologies for the haze - the thing is 80km away!  Photo three shows the three stages of development.  Spent tower to anvil, tower with Pileus prior to anviling out and the third is a weak tower which did not make it!

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Offline Mike

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #4 on: 09 October 2008, 04:16:19 AM »
Storm chase day 7 October 2008

And not before time.

The previous days had been showing decent sfc moisture and temps.  Cape is never an issue here this time of year but there was an annoying NW sea breeze that literally pushed all the CU fields back inland and kept them away from Darwin for any storm development.  Viewing the satpics on the 6th you can visually see it in the hourly loops - just insane!

Yesterday was probably a lot better for storms as the tip of a trough and a low pressure area on the WA/NT border was having a nice effect on things.  Plotting the sounding during the day showed an increase in cape and Li numbers and the capping layer was being broken - something had to give.  These two cells formed around 4pm - just massive and a few positive strikes from the anvil heads.

I returned home from snapping these two cells to keep an eye on the satpics and radar.  Labelle is around 150km from us inland through the national park area and always produces big storms.  whatever cap broke last night it created a monster storm there and other convection to the SE was growing and forming a thick sausage shaped line of storms.  I packed the gear and headed down to Adelaide River about 90 odd km from home.  I timed it pretty well as i parked in between a set of three storms connected (the SE corner of that line).  The storms were going nuts with intra-cloud lightning and had to wait for any CGs.  Plenty of positive strikes and really it depended on where you were as a lot was flanging from the other side of the towers.

After about an hour it had died down and so back into Darwin there were storms pushing through Darwin!  Second chance to get some shots again.  Located at the back of Darwin Airport where it's open and got a couple of nice shots, the storms were heading offshore and the same scenario - intra-cloud with the odd CG or positive flang.

All in all a good night.  I'm a bit frustrated in not getting closer to the bolts but a tree lined highway is something we all find annoying and perhaps a different locale next time. 

enjoy!
« Last Edit: 09 October 2008, 04:26:04 AM by Mike »
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Offline Carlos E

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #5 on: 09 October 2008, 04:50:05 AM »
Great pics Mike.

I saw a whole line of storms develop over the NT/WA border, along with Darwin (or near at least) and figured you'd be out after them. Hopefully the season keeps delivering.

Offline Shaun Galman

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #6 on: 09 October 2008, 11:22:09 AM »
G'day Mike,
Hey that's a cool little updraft/anvil on that cell! I bet it was racing upwards to the troposphere fairly fast!

Man I hate it when trees obscure your view of a storm, particularly when the CG seem to hide behind a single tree in your line of sight :/

Might pay to keep a chainsaw handy lol ;)

I always look forward to seeing the posts in this Darwin thread! Helps ease the SDS when we aren't so lucky weather wise :D

Take care,
Shauno
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Website: www.ridgelightning.com

Offline Mike

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #7 on: 16 October 2008, 09:06:26 AM »
Chase report 15 October 08

Hi all.  After a stinking hot day with a few brief showers, things were hotting up inland!  we received a nice storm off the coast close enough to get some decent pics - but I could only view it from work :(.  But around midnight an extremely large squall line formed way inland to the SE and quickly gathered momentum by midnight.  We finished work right at that time and I headed home to quickly check the position and steering of the most active cells before heading out.

Radar loops look very impressive as far as the distance these things covered and how they progressed->

---> Darwin radar loop

Just about all the line was lightning active - which is a terrible thing in this case as 90% of it was sheet or intra-cloud rubbish.   Temps were around 28C and DP's around 23 so there was no shortage of moisture!  I headed out to the coastal areas to wait for the line to arrive.  Plenty of CGs but were obscured by a preceding curtain of wind and rain.  I moved locations a few times to try and position myself in the best spot for shots.  I took a few long exposures to locate cloud structures and any hidden towers as the moonlight was being blanketed by cloud.  I decided to stick with my current location and wait.  Within 15 minutes I was smashed with very strong gusts and torrential rain!  Add to that constant sheet lightning and the odd CG banging all over the place, it was near impossible to get any photos at all of substance.

I was out until 3:30am desperately moving around to get behind the storms - but they were so widespread it was impossible to do anything about it.  Most roads were flooded, leaf debris and small branches abound.  BoM had not severe warned this storm, which I think they should have given the gusts I encountered - they were very strong.  I decided to call it quits and head home when another cell matured fairly close to my home.  I decided to quickly duck home to grab a drink (the storm was only a minute away in view) and in a period of no more than 5 minutes it spat out 3 large CGs close by (the kind when you see nice, crisp white light from the strikes and booming thunder!)  and by the time i got back around the corner it had died a quick but effective death.  I was spewing as i had been chasing for over 2 hours trying to get a photo and my best opportunity came when I got home!  I hate that!  This happened last year when I chased a similar squall line and got 4 big Cgs in the exact same spot near home!

I'm now changing my tactics when it comes to chasing squall lines at night.  Pick the least precip area of the line with a def CG pumping CB there!  Overall it was a great night for experience and education on my part. 

There's a similar set up for tonight also.  Very humid and hot outside, we still have left over anvil wash from this morning.  Sounding is good albeit a dry slot near the lowers, but heating from the east should dry the cap up a little more.   I'd be confident of another repeat later tonight so I'm prepared once again.

Here's shots of an avro storm we had the other day.  The rainbow eventually fully formed for over 20 minutes and the latter photo is the two cells forming in the rural area at the same time. 
« Last Edit: 17 October 2008, 01:46:49 AM by Michael Bath »
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Offline Mike

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #8 on: 16 October 2008, 08:59:45 PM »
Super structure Oct 16.

I was viewing some astounding CB formation as one massive storm was literally boiling in front of my eyes from work.  The updrafts were so fast that the rising cumulous was streaking as it went up!  Two storms converged entering the harbour. 

The storm was so photogenic because it was entering clear blue sky as it approached the city.  A funnel lowering was seen in the middle portion of the two storms during convergence of the two.

Was the largest storm I've ever seen entering Darwin in six years living here and being at work really peeved me off no end.  I managed photos just at the pre shelf stage with the rising convection.  It was rising that fast that Pileus was blown outward to mist as soon as it formed! 

In the photo with the rainbow the funnel formed just to the left of that soon after.  I'll try and get some mature shelf photos and post them - was an amazing sight.  Gusts were up to 55.

I've got two days off work now so today the same set up is on the cards.  I aint stay'n home you can bank on that!
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Offline Mike

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #9 on: 18 October 2008, 03:49:26 AM »
Very late storm Oct 17

Pine Creek some 100 odd K's down the track got smashed last night with a whopping cell, but I was unable to get down there.  BoM forecast a late storm and they got that right - 1:30am!  I had been viewing the satpics and radar all night as I knew there was a convergence line smack bang over the top of the little town.  Sure enough it went off.  Anyway, back here in Darwin I decided to take advantage of the full moon and check out the thickening of clouds moving in onshore.  I was observing one cell in particular as it showed a pronounced dome. It took about 20 minutes to form but it felt right so I set up the camera just around the corner from my house - so not really a chase - more of a photo op.

It was flickering lightning up top (which seems to be a dead give-away I've noticed) and it shot out about 8 or 9 CGs.  I was going to get a little closer to it but given its smallish structure i knew it would not last too long so I stayed put.  The anvil blew right over the top of me - which is not my preferred location - but it did not send out crawlers hence my not worrying too much.

Forecast is the same for tonight - but I'm going to ring BoM today and confirm that down the track is the preferred locale again.  No convergence on the streamline GIF yet, but the low and the trough is still there.

Here's some so-so images after realizing the angle was a bit too high!  Got the strikes though so not a complete waste.  Comments welcome!
« Last Edit: 18 October 2008, 04:48:39 AM by Michael Bath »
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Offline nmoir

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #10 on: 18 October 2008, 11:22:50 AM »
love to see the funnels big fella, you need a remote control car with a hd webcam and nextg card so you can chase from work!
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Offline Harley Pearman

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #11 on: 18 October 2008, 12:28:45 PM »
Mike, they are spectacular photos of cloud formations over and around Darwin and brings back memories of my time up there in 1995 / 1996 and again in 1999 when I attempted some further storm chasing and photography.

I have just read that Darwin is enjoying its wettest October in 12 years and around 120 mm of rain has fallen this month at the airport. These are the best rains in 7 months.

I like the single cloud towers the best and they are similar to my still photos.

I took allot of my photos of storms and Hector from the beaches, Leanyer Swamp, Darwin Harbour and the roof of the car park near the Darwin Mall.

In 1999 a friend and myself did some minor storm chasing out near Kakadu and Pine Creek (January 1999) and managed to get some interesting storm formations occurring inland. Kakadu offers many great lookouts and opportunities to see storms form away from the sea breeze. While they cannot all be chased, this area offers a unique opportunity to see storms in their grandeur.

I note you had a problem of trees on one recent chase. If heading towards Kakadu, I remember visiting one lookout near the Adelaide River Crossing that has a sealed road going to the top called "Windows on the Wetlands Lookout". This offers a 360 degree view of the floodplain and perfect for filming Hector and build ups away from trees.

One way to view a storm is on Darwin Harbour. I did this when I was there in 1999 although the cruise had to be terminated when the storm actually hit and several bolts of lightning struck the water in front of the cruise terminal adjacent to Cullen Bay.

Waterspouts and or funnels do and can occur although I do not know how common they are.

I read your storeys and look at the cloud formations with particular interest as I have seen it and found the build up fascinating. Thanks for posting these so we can all enjoy the Hector build up around Darwin.

Harley Pearman

Offline Mike

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #12 on: 18 October 2008, 01:15:20 PM »
rubbish, rubbish, rubbish!

http://mirror.bom.gov.au/products/IDR632.loop.shtml

edited my post : nice colors on radar.  sporadic lightning - heavy rain - boring.
« Last Edit: 18 October 2008, 04:58:24 PM by Mike »
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Offline Richary

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #13 on: 19 October 2008, 05:11:16 PM »
Drat. The line looked good on radar, was hoping to seem some good photos.

Now I have just bought a decent camera there are no storms forecast here for the next week. How can I try the bastard out?

Last time I went to Darwin was late September I think, the humidity was just starting to rise before the wet. Got enough frequent flier points, what would be the best time to visit for some serious storm watching?

Offline Mike

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Re: Darwin Storm events 2008/2009
« Reply #14 on: 19 October 2008, 09:01:55 PM »
I should charge people for every time I get asked that!  In a nutshell....any time from November to March but not on any specific day!  Nick Moir when he was here asked me the same thing and came up with the same answer:  'How the hell do you chase these things, it's hard enough pinpointing where they'll start!'

In the eastern states you have specific set ups in which you know things will be good, especially when troughs sweep through.  We get CAPE between 1800-3800 and higher and index numbers always between -4 to -7 but no storms - not logical!

I could tell you to come during a certain month sure, but ask me any specific 'week' or time, then no, I cannot answer that at all.  Some weeks you chase every day. Some weeks we get nothing when you think we should and on those days that look great things just don't fire!

Having said all that - November through February have proven the best months.  Localised tropical depressions and monsoon troughs in the area always help kick things along - but monsoon itself without depressions in them - rain, rain and rain.

Because our storms form at all hours of the day or night it's frustrating to nowcast and often they form during late arvo to 8pmish and those sneaky severe storms early in the morning.  You're sure to see plenty of storms during any of the months coming up, but stay a bit longer than a week just in case...keep an eye on the forecasts for Darwin when they regularly predict storms each day.

Hope this helps...of sorts.
Darwin, Northern Territory.
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Lightning Research 2010/14