Surface Based Storms 27 March 2014

This day was originally looking very good for storms, however the upper low moved a long way north of where models had been progging it earlier, and without it we had warmer uppers, less jet influence, less sheer and storm potential suffered because of this.

The first storms initiated north of Clare and were moving very slowly ssw, propagating faster than they were moving in reality. They dropped 15mm at Blyth, but there was probably higher totals more locally. There was also a reasonable amount of lightning activity however nothing really special and this can probably be attributed to the cooler temps, moist-ish atmosphere (from memory) and the lack of CAPE.

I got to Rhynie as this storm complex started to die, however I had a great view of the structure from the SE side where I could see a reasonable wall cloud under the updraught structure, probably about the time there was a new cell formed rapidly north of Balaklava. At the same time there was a strong cell raging up near Mount Bryan, however given the lack of sheer and pulsey nature of the day I decided against racing north to intercept it for fear of it dying (which it did). I drove closer to the Balaklava cell, given the large new cells forming around it, with the intention of core punching but it was all dying rather quickly as it hit the seabreeze, stabilising the environment. You could actually see the perfect line of clear air through the rain curtains to the SW where the boundary was. However it was still reasonably lightning active and I heard a few deep rumbles and seen half a dozen strikes out the back end.

The Balaklava cell, rather tall!

Wall Cloud under the Balaklava cell. Contrast has been pushed to increase clarity through the haze, it certainly wasn’t this mean looking IRL.

Fresh, strong convection to the south end of the complex, a deceiving existence!

A perfect line of clear air can be seen to the back of the complex. The ragid lower cloud to the left was forming from an outflow push against the prevailing wind from a pulsey storm to the south.

I headed east, with reasonable convection around but nothing really dominating for me to target. There were a couple of heavy cells but they never looked like developing any further and so I just slowly crept east, hoping interacting boundaries would form something. It was near Saddleworth I could see strong convection going up just to my east and a large area of RFB’s forming, and this looked to be forming just ahead of the SBF so I targeted it.

Trying but failing cell, nice rainbow none the less!

New RFB rapidly forming.

I crossed under the RFB just before Eudunda, where the cell to my immediate north about 20km had started to precipitate. It was quite a spectacular sky and you could see the SBF behind it rapidly clearing out all the air, and clear stable air to the east also, leaving just this line of tall cells. The one to the North of Eudunda had some impressive rain echo’s for about a 20 minute period, and I expected it to spark however according to tracker at least, it never did. It was still an impressive cell and I watched it until it died, before heading along the road to World’s end with the hope of getting some nice light and rainbows.

From the other side, camera struggling with dynamic range here!

Northern cell starting to dump.

Rain surging out in a bit of a foot as the cell dumps. Little bit of an outflow feature forming there as well.

Strong cell starting to weaken, north of Eudunda.

Behind the now rapidly decaying cell, an extremely vivid and tall rainbow, sun getting rather low and casting golden light onto the soaked landscape.

Rainbow and rapidly clearing sky.

After this I drove home, to be rewarded with a beautiful sunset. Normally I wouldn’t have chased such a weak setup, but I was very keen for a drive and wanted to get out with the camera as it had been awhile. I was certainly rewarded with some very beautiful scenes in an area I had never been before.

Amazing light over rolling hills.

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