wxblog: June 2011 to November 2013

Wow... what a week this has been so far. Every day since Saturday there has been storm activity, and every day has been completely different! Today (15/11) was the most spectacular day for me, with amazing supercells. I watched the storms in the Gold Coast Hinterland with awe. Just amazing. Here's a photo, and the first video. Now, time to think of Saturday's storms...

 

Today marks 40 years since The Great Brisbane Tornado. Often described as the most damaging tornado to hit Australia (especially to a capital city), with a strength up to EF3, (winds 218-266km/h) it tore a narrow 51km strip through Brisbane. Around 1400 buildings were damaged but miraculously nobody died. I recently updated a report I compiled back in 1998 on the tornado, and have added some photos from residents affected by this devestating event - click here.

Yeah, another slow start to a storm season. We've had a couple of minor events, and a crazy number of storm warnings, but really, not a lot happened. Hopefully soon enough we'll get those hot humid days with cooling afternoon thunderstorms. The next week or so it looking mostly fine but some shower and storm activity is likely from the weekend. Updates on this system on twitter as we get closer.

Assorted and generally disappoint storms cleared late in the afternoon in time for the sky to light up brilliantly. I uploaded some timelapse - enjoy. Subscribe if you want :)

 

Storm season is getting closer and as usual we (the weather 'community') hope the upcoming season is going to be better than the last. This time last year we were thinking "it can't be any worse surely" and as you know, it definitely was worse. Worse as in, non existent apart from one big weekend. We haven't had anywhere near a normal season since 2008 - the season of "The Gap Storm". Great sunset July 8Obviously we don't want that kind of destruction, but surely we can still get plenty of storms this season with hopefully little damage. Hopefully these deliver 'normal' rainfall, as the start of September looks rather dry, after a very dry and warm August which yielded 0.2mm in Brisbane. Good for photographing sunsets...

With little happening, I've had time to do some videos in recent times. See my YT page here. I finally put up a video of the awesome Downs supercell which occurred on the big weekend in November last year - enjoy:

 

While there are no big cold snaps/fronts approaching, the change to a cooler season is gradually setting in. Mornings are now dewy and cooler, and the SE winds are a little brisk. Showers will continue this week... as usual more widespread near the coast and hinterlands.

I thought it was about time I gave my website a presence on facebook. There's enough facebook pages around these days that will tell us about upcoming weather/storm events (plus my Twitter account) so I thought I'd dedicate the facebook page to my photos. I hope you like it!

I forgot to put this on here earlier. Here's some cool (and wet) footage of Wynnum Esplanade during Oswald. A 0.5m storm surge with 80-100km/h winds causing the mayhem:

 

The Summer has been generally hot with not a lot of rain, and then Oswald turned up. Bucketloads of rain later, we are now into a rather mild week of weather. Maybe a coastal shower here or there. The flood waters are nearly all receding leaving billions of dollars in damage across eastern Qld. Many houses destroyed and washed away, many others flooded and filled with mud, and hundreds of roads and bridges damaged or washed away. Some places, like Mt Tamborine still have issues with power, due to the intense winds up there during Oswald. I visited the 'mountain' the other day - it sure was a mess.

Uploaded videos... I've uploaded two more in the last day or so. Nothing really relevant to today's weather, just some footage that would be better on youtube rather than just sitting in my hard drive. Firstly, some altocumulus timelapse (inc nice sunset) from last year, and some nice scenes at Dangar Falls in Dorrigo from July last year.

 

 

The Logan River at Waterford peaked yesterday at 9.10 metres - the highest since 1991. I believe some houses were flooded, but generally Logan faired pretty well. If the river had risen perhaps a metre more, the situation would have been much much worse. I ventured down to Waterford, and took the following video. As always, click on HD for the best version.

 

What an amazing last week or so of weather for the east coast of Australia. Cyclone Oswald was only ever an official tropical cyclone for less than half a day, before crossing the western Cape York Coast. It then turned into a rain depression as it tracked all the way down eastern Qld - and then NSW - just inland of the coast. It wasn't *just* a rain depression - it was more or less of tropical cyclone intensity until it reached NSW. A map produced by the Bureau of Meteorology showing the rain that fell in the week up to 9am 30/01/13Many stations recorded wind gusts well over 100km/h, including Cape Byron (131km/h), Cape Moreton (several gusts of 128km/h) and Double Island Point (122km/h) while right down the coast and eastern inland, rain fell in torrents. Springbrook had 1453mm (to the oldies, 57 inches) in just four days! Gladstone had over 800mm. Storm surge and dangerous waves at Wynnum, on Moreton Bay. The esplanade was flooded during the morning high tides 28/01/13 and 29/01/13Bundaberg is going through its worst flooding in history with hundreds of homes under water. Unfortunately, the Lockyer Valley suffered badly once again, with hundreds of flooded/destroyed roads and bridges - due to over 1000mm of rain in just a few days there. On the coast, a half metre storm surge caused erosion, inundation and damage to some buidlings. What an incredible weather event! And that's not it... at least 6 TORNADOES damaged hundreds of homes in the Wide Bay district in locations such as Burrum Heads and Bargara. Some footage from Bargara is here. In the end it actually could have been worse - we were saved from a 1974 type flood event (in SEQld) due to the very dry conditions leading up to Oswald. As I type, most rivers and creeks are receding. Rockhampton is one of the few areas still waiting for a flood peak - which should arrive sometime Friday 1/2/13.

Video Grab of Lightning ahead of Boonah-Brisbane HailstormThe weekend saw some of the most spectacular and widespread thunderstorm activity since 2008. It seems nearly all areas (maybe not parts of the Gold Coast/Hinterland) had plenty of rain as well. That was the positive though, with many houses being damaged by the hail in the Wide Bay area yesterday aftenoon, and then from the Border Ranges up through Brisbane under than spectacular supercell which just kept going and going late Sunday.Pittsworth Supercell And of course, many crops on the Downs have been decimated - mostly due to that very severe supercell that developed near Pittsworth on the Downs Saturday afternoon. That storm may be the most photographed/chased outside of a city/town ever in Australia.I was on it, along with at least 15-20 others - some from Brisbane, Gold Coast, NE NSW and even from Sydney.It was definitely worth the trip for everyone who made it out there!

Pittsworth SupercellThe supercell that moved up from the Border Ranges late Sunday (18/11) had some rather serious hail - measured up to 9cm in Boonah, and similar in western suburbs of Brisbane such as Jamboree Heights and Mt Ommaney.My front yard 18/11 showing the large amounts of 2-3.5cm hailMany houses have broken roof tiles... and many gardens were badly damaged - mine included! And how about the lightning - some of the best lightning seen in years - something like 106000 strikes across SEQld for the weekend. I could go on and on...

It looks like our storm season is finally about to begin. Today in very marginal conditions, some weak storms developed over northern inland NSW (Armidale - Glen Innes - Tamworth), while tomorrow, increased instablity is expected, with more widespread activity likely - which should spread into (especially inland) SEQld later in the day. Thursday will likely be fine apart from the odd isolated shower on the ranges, while Friday will see better instablity, which may again lead to storms. Saturday at this stage is looking like the big day, with heavy thunderstorm development (possibly severe) a good chance. Sunday is an outside chance of further storms. So... fingers crossed we get some photogenic storms over coming days!

A distant bushfire viewed from Grafton on October 20, 2012. Temps were up to 39C throughout much of NSW (to the coast) and SE Qld on this day.Apart from last Sunday (when some rather epic lightning occurred in the Lockyer Valley and Downs but I missed them due to prior commitments dammit), conditions have been dry, with some really bad fire days.There have been lots of fires burning - some for more than 10 days like the Greenbank - Springfield fires - and this will continue. In the short term, temps will increase once again, before cooling during the weekend. I'm still upbeat about our storm season prospects - we have to remain patient. Soon enough we'll get some warmer, and more humid weather.

Well, that cold blast is now out of the way. As promised, it delivered lots of highland snow, all the way up to Stanthorpe on our side of the Qld/NSW border. I don't believe any snow actually settled in Qld, but it did not too far away - from Tenterfield south, albeit briefly in some areas. Many areas had their best snow in many years, which shows you the strength of this - October - system. Guyra and Ben Lomond had about a 10cm fall, which is very, very impressive! - as evidenced in this video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_NrhG7o-Hb4. Now we've got this crazy system out of the way, we can talk about storms! As I type this, a broken line of storms is over far NE NSW, moving N/NNE - we may see some of that in the next few hours. In the longer term, temps will be on the rise, with storms risks increasing again by about Thursday. More updates on this either here, or on the twitter feed!

Firstly I should say... I think the storm season is still looking good. But unfortunately, we have to get over something first... and that is... the biggest 'Winter event' this year! Check this out - a GFS prediction of NSW 500hpa temps for 10pm Thursday thanks to BSCH:

NSW 10pm Thursday map - showing 500hpa temps

That is one serious cold pool. It is likely to help deliver snow up the Divide from Victoria up into North NSW. Who knows... there might even be a little near the Qld/NSW border. Once this cold pool interacts with the warm Tasman Sea, a low will develop, causing serious winds and rain over eastern NSW. It could provide some rain for us, but no drought breakers. The thing is though, these big systems tend to remove every bit of storm-juice (heat/humidity/instability) for an extended period. No good! Perhaps we'll have to wait until at least the last third of October to see anything storm-related. Then... bring it on.

Our storm season is only just getting going and I hate to say... the signs are good. That annoying lady La Nina is gone, leaving neutral or slightly El Nino conditions - usually perfect for an active season. Another thing... usually September is a time for 'teaser days' - days that look pretty good, and instability is high, but often nothing happens. Last Friday (21/9) and Monday (24/9) were examples. Both days, instability was rather high - especially Monday, but low level moisture depth/humidity was annoyingly low. But, against the odds (and with the help of mid-upper support), we scored storm activity. Hail even fell on Monday over many suburbs of Brisbane and Logan on Monday... with larger hail falling in some suburbs of Toowoomba as numerous storms developed there! Luckily no/little damage though. So I'm hoping the trend continues! One thing that is a worry is the lack of rainfall - hardly anything substantial in the last 2 months or so. Neutral conditions tend to give us average or slightly below average rainfall, and often storm-dependant rain. So yes that is a worry... as is the likelihood of numerous damaging storms in the next few months. We'll all have to be very watchful of conditions, and take all of the necessary precautions. So keep watching the sky with your fully-charged cameras and listen for warnings. Hopefully I haven't jinxed everything now!

Every year I look forward to November and December because it is when the most spectacular and photogenic storms occur. Well... so far... there's been very little of interest. In fact, it's similar to last year in that regard. Last November we had SE winds and cloud/showers most of the time while this month we've had temps mostly near 30-33C but a dry atmosphere. While the two Novembers sound like opposites, they've both had the same thing - no/few storms. In saying all of that, a supercell on November 13 destroyed a house in Rathdowney; and in previous months, we did have a few big storm days. The most significant was probably the October 13 hailstorms, which carpeted several Logan and southern Brisbane suburbs with a huge amount of hail, and knocked over plenty of trees. Two days later, fast moving storms caused minor damage across SE Qld, due to strong winds, including hail damage in northern Brisbane suburbs. Anyway, below are a few pics I've taken in recent months...

SunsetBorder Ranges StormMaclean Storm

Check the 2011 gallery for more images!

We had a month long family trip to the western side of the US in September. It wasn't a storm chasing holiday (that's next hopefully) but we did manage to come across many thunderstorms. We had a brilliant/awesome/fantastic time in places like The Grand Canyon, Vegas, San Fran, Monument Valley and Mammoth Lakes and took countless photos; some of which are below:

Severe storm near Grand CanyonThe magnificent Grand CanyonThe lovely Monument Valley

The past week has been fantastic (apart from those doing strawberry farming) with several days of storms with hail, and brilliant lightning. The two biggest days were May 30 and 31... both days had ground covering hailstorms. On the evening of May 30, thunderstorms in the Boonah - Beaudesert - Jimboomba - Tamborine areas had plenty of hail, with the ice remaining on the ground well into the next day!! I had other commitments but did manage to get out to Jacobs Well that night, and enjoyed the hail and vivid lightning ground strikes (CGs). I was lucky enough to score a very close CG (within 200m) which is shown below... and got some other half decent photos:

Close lightning strike in the Jacobs Well area!

Intense updraughts on the backend of a storm in the Amberley areaAnother nice CG in the Jacobs Well area.A storm moving away Cabbage Tree PointIntense lightning at Jacobs Well

Early storm development SE of Forest LakeNice hailshafts in the Browns Plains area.Thunderstorm bases about to unleash torrential rain, hail and lightning strikes (Browns Plains).

More photos are in the gallery... right here.

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