Thunderstorms 3-4 December 2013

Finally some chaseworthy (just) storms tracked across central South Australia bringing frequent lightning to some areas. Being weakish mid level storms, appearance wise they tend to be low contrast, dull clouds with little rain, but often create chaotic skies. Today was no exception.

Some nice discrete cells formed into Adelaide dropping frequent cg’s, at the same time a solid line was forming into the mid north, which I targeted. Being strong at first I did expect it to weaken out into a band of rain which it did, but i also expected stronger cells too form just ahead, but these struggled and were very pulsy. Some very solid cells with powerful, rock solid updraughts went up on the eastern side of the ranges, but at that stage, too far away for me to catch.

Given the lack of storms this season, I enjoyed the chase, when generally I probably wouldn’t have usually.

I targeted Balaklava where the band looked to be sliding just south of. Storms formed ahead of the band just around the area and I seen some nice Cg’s as i approached. This was the view as I came down from the hills onto the plains, found a neat area of yackas growing.

I continued on to Balaklava where I entered the OFB from the line of storms, marked by a thin line of scud. The wind was quite strong,  with 60, maybe approaching 70km gusts with quite a few leaves and twigs falling off the mallees. I sat for a bit watching the lightning to the south before grabbing lunch in Balaklava then heading north towards Blyth.

The line of storms weakened but cells formed further ahead and dropped a quick but nice barrage of Cg’s just to my north from seemingly nothing.

From here it was generally isolated bolts dropping spontaneously as the rain spread north, I stopped a few more times before stopping north of Blyth and watched nice cells to both my north and south. From here storms tended to weaken out and I headed home. Not too bad from a relatively weak setup.

Later in the night I headed out towards Yorke Peninsula to intercept some storms coming across the gulf. Lightning was frequent on the drive there, however as I got there it had cluttered up and bolts were often rain obscured. I seen quite a few close bolts however my location was less than ideal with trees everywhere so photographic opportunities were limited. Still it was nice to see some powerful nighttime bolts.

I headed back to the town of Lochiel and stayed there for quite a while as there were still random positives and crawlers occurring reasonably frequently. Most of the time there was precipitation in some form, even raining from starry skies at one stage which made things very difficult. However I manged to capture a couple of flashes, one which I’m quite happy with.

Soon after this I headed home and enjoyed the lightning from there, with quite frequent thundery rain for a couple hours. The atmosphere was very saturated at this stage and there was low cloud galore with fog obscuring the hills. In hindsight I could have done better, however the mallee lined roads and lack? of southern dirt roads made this very difficult. All in all a very enjoyable night with a few sub 2km strikes creating some solid cracks, nice to finally get some storms!

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