Late Winter storms

After being barraged by front after front over the course of winter, August has seen a change to unseasonably troughy weather, with frequent strong NW infeeds with systems and generally higher moisture levels than usual. This has lead to quite a few days with afternoon convection and local weak storms, however one day in particular produced some extraordinarily good storms for this time of year, it is indeed the earliest chase day for a new season I’ve ever had. Because of how early in the year this summer like convection has been occurring, all of the stronger cells have contained hail in various sizes, nothing large (>2cm) however as CAPE has been very limited.

On the 23rd of August, I went for a drive to the Tothill Ranges to observe some developing convection on a day with very low (<10 knot) 500mb shear. Nothing overly special but after core punching with some heavy rain, hail, seeing half a dozen rainbows, and an epic looking storm near Burra, even a funnel, it turned out to be an enjoyable day after the long lull of winter.

Rainbow under weak convection.

Rainbow under weak convection.

Funnel cloud under a developing cell.

Funnel cloud under a developing cell.

A huge wispy anvil complete with some mammatus form on this storm near Burra in response to the very cold uppers (relative to usual storm development in South Australia.)

A huge wispy anvil complete with some mammatus form on this storm near Burra in response to the very cold uppers (relative to usual storm development in South Australia.)

Whilst this was a fun day, a very productive storm day was to be had on the 30th of August, the best winter storms I have seen. It was another low CAPE day, however a rainband from the night before had moistened the atmosphere considerably, in fact that morning the ranges of Clare were shrouded in low cloud which burned off in the late morning, something you rarely see before a storm day. There was also considerably good speed shear, with a jet over the top, however nothing too strong as to overpower the relatively weak updrafts. From memory somewhere around 30 knots for the steering level.

The main group of storms developed on the west coast of northern Yorke Peninsula. I drove over to Bute and followed the cells back, over the Barungas and eventually back to Brinkworth.

This one early out west of Bute, as the storms developed into something more. Before this it was nothing but a grey mess

This one early out west of Bute, as the storms developed into something more. Before this it was nothing but a grey mess.

ooh this was looking a lot better! sun poking through for contrast

ooh this was looking a lot better!  sun poking through for contrast. Near the western foothills of the Barunga Ranges.

A strong cell, containing hail pushes out ahead of the line to my south. Some very nice rotation in this storms wallcloud.

A strong cell, containing hail pushes out ahead of the line to my south. Some very nice rotation in this storms wallcloud.

A shelf cloud forming on a rather large line of storms to the north of the previous cell. A very dense rain curtain.

A shelf cloud forming on a rather large line of storms to the north of the previous cell. A very dense rain curtain.

A whales mouth on the underside of a developing shelf cloud shows off its depth.

A whales mouth on the underside of a developing shelf cloud shows off its depth.

Turbines under a menacing base, as tendrils of rain dance over the range.

Turbines under a menacing base, as tendrils of rain dance over the range.

West of Snowtown as a particularly persistent and strong cell steamed eastwards to my south, and would eventually die way out in the Riverland. Rotation earlier is this wall cloud region, it was the first time I had seen quite rapid two directional motion in a base like this. Quite cool.

West of Snowtown as a particularly persistent and strong cell steamed eastwards to my south, and would eventually die way out in the Riverland. Rotation earlier is this wall cloud region, it was the first time I had seen quite rapid two directional motion in a base like this. Quite cool.

A steep shelf cloud rolls over Snowtown BP, the underside boiling with cumulus.

A steep shelf cloud rolls over Snowtown BP, the underside boiling with cumulus.

I had no chance of catching the long lived cell so instead opted to wait for new stuff to the north, which allowed me to watch the northern side of the whales mouth stretch for out to the east without experiencing too much precip. It was an epic sight.

I had no chance of catching the long lived cell so instead opted to wait for new stuff to the north, which allowed me to watch the northern side of the whales mouth stretch for out to the east without experiencing too much precip. It was an epic sight.

Sheets of very heavy rain and small hail sweep across the Barunga Ranges as this strong cell dumps its moisture.

Sheets of very heavy rain and small hail sweep across the Barunga Ranges as this strong cell dumps its moisture.

A super impressive sight as this cells reaches its peak strength and weaker cells to its north join to form one large line. I core punched this cell with very heavy rain and pea sized hail.

Heavy storms line the horizon.

Heavy storms line the horizon.

What a glorious day for clouds it was.

What a glorious day for clouds it was.

A lucky bolt

A lucky bolt

And an amazing way to top off a very enjoyable day of chasing.

A very tall rainbow (the sun was just below the horizon) graces the sky in the Clare Valley as thunderstorm remnants drift through.

A very tall rainbow (the sun was just below the horizon) graces the sky in the Clare Valley as thunderstorm remnants drift through.

 

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2 Responses to Late Winter storms

  1. selah says:

    what I wouldn’t give to see clouds like these.. they are awesomely beautiful.

    • Mark Dawson says:

      Atmospherics like I saw on this day are the driving force behind why I chase weather, it is extraordinarily rewarding hobby.

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