It’s been a while since Perth saw any decent thunderstorm activity. But Wednesday 1st March broke the TS drought. At 2:45pm, my weather station at home recorded a high temperature of 41.7°C and 78% humidity, so there was plenty of heat and moisture around. The afternoon aerological diagram (T-skew) from the BoM showed plenty of potential for lifting and storm development.
And I guess it was hard to miss these babies developing…
The growth of this particular cell was impressive, as this short time-lapse shows.
So we set off out along the Brookton Highway to Mount Dale, about 4okm’s east of Kelmscott. Going up the hill, I got stuck behind a slow moving truck, which made the view in front of me all the more tantalising.
The photo above was taken on my dash mounted camera (which needs adjusting up a bit) at 6:15pm. The following radar image show the development of this storm around this time.
We got to Mount Dale a few minutes before sunset. After parking in the lookout carpark, we climbed the track to the eastern side of the hill. The view is not the best because of the trees, but there are plenty of places where you can get a reasonable view to the east. And what a view it was. I’ll let the following photo’s tell the story…
Sometimes it is nice to step back from the camera and just enjoy the show.
The view looking up. By this stage, the massive cloud structure was being lit up by the sun even though it had set, which gives you some perspective as to just how high this thing was.
By this time, a second cell was developing overhead and it was getting a bit too dangerous to stay out in the open, so we made the call to head back home. We hadn’t been home long before another set of storms that had formed north of Perth began making their way toward the city. So I set the camera up on the front porch and managed to get a few photos through the trees.
In this photo you can see the CBD skyline with the lightning hitting somewhere in the western suburbs.
More storms passed over the metro area during the night, but it had been a long day for my so I missed them. You can see some great photos from the team at Perth Weather Live on their Facebook page using the link below.
With out a doubt, the 2014 summer storm season has been a big let down so far here in Western Australia. Up until today that is.
I had some idea late on Friday evening that I would be heading out the following day. After looking at all the charts and models, I narrowed my chase location to an area somewhere around Wongan Hills. So at about 11am, my son Connor and I loaded the car and headed over to pick up my friend and chase buddy, Ramon. We grabbed a few supplies from IGA and headed up Wanaroo Road before turning east. We picked up the Great Northern Highway and headed north towards the target area.
It was clear that by the time we got to New Norcia, we would not have to go as for north as previously planned. So we sat in a clearing on the edge of town for an hour or so and watched the convection around us. We even had a few big and very cold drops of rain. After so long with no rain here in WA, it was almost a novelty. Before long, we made the call to head further east. We passed through the small town of Yerecoin and continued east for a few Km’s before turning south onto Woods Road. We found a fantastic location on top of the highest point around to stop and watch was developing all around us. Click on the image below to see the 360° version.
There were some fair sized cumulus towers developing to the north and north-east which were producing pileus caps. They form as a parcel of air is shoved upward by the rapidly rising convective tower. Moisture in the air above the tower condenses directly into an ice fog as the air rises and cools, forming the pileus.
These towers formed and then collapsed several times over the next hour and a half. One that was directly north of us dropped a few bolts of lightning, but it soon collapsed also.
To make things a little interesting, there was also a fire burning to our north-west, so some of the photo’s we got have an orange colour to them because of the smoke.
To the west, we were treated to an awesome display as the sun shone through a gap in the clouds.
As the evening began to cool, the atmosphere seemed to get less dynamic, but further south we could see that things were just getting going. A quick look at the radar confirmed that there were significant cells developing off the coast near Perth. So we packed up and headed south. After a quick bite to eat in Bullsbrook, we headed over to the coast to see what was going on. As we got closer, we could see the western sky lighting up with flashes of lightning. We made our way to Ocean Reef Marina and parked the car overlooking the ocean towards the south-west. It wasn’t long before we started to see some significant CG lightning dropping somewhere south of Rottnest Island. We set up our cameras and settled in for a couple of hours as we watched the storm cell move slowly in a south-easterly direction. Whilst there, we bumper into fellow storm chaser and photographer Mark Finley. The storm was a long way from us and there was a fair bit of light pollution, so the following images are not as good as I would have liked, but they give you an idea.
The following images were taken by my son, Connor. Whilst I was chatting to Mark (meaning ‘whilst I wasn’t watching’) he thought he would have a go behind my camera. He was pretty excited as you can imagine.
As the cell moved further south, it seemed to start getting less intensive. So we called it a night and headed back down the freeway. As we got closer to the city, we could see that the storm had got active again as it crossed the coast. We made a last minute call to see if we could get some more images from the bank of the Swan River. We found a great spot just west of the Old Swan Brewery, set up the cameras and started shooting. I’m so glad we did. The light show on the other side of the river was amazing. I had some trouble keeping the camera steady because the wind was so gusty, but I managed to capture some CG’s.
Eventually, the storm moved further south-east and the lightning became obscured by rain, so we packed up once again and headed home. All the way home we watched as this system belted the outer southern suburbs with strike after strike. You can see some of the many images sent into the Perth Weather Live Facebook page here.
Thanks for reading and I hope you enjoyed the lightning and thunder and rain as much as we did. Lets hope we can a have a few more before the season finishes. On an interesting side note, today is the 4 year anniversary of the March 22 super storm that dumped large hail on Perth. You can read about it here.