1st March 2017

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.

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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.

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May 8-9 Winter Storms

Yesterday saw the first real winter storms for Western Australia and it is not even winter yet! We knew this system was going to be big but just how big was a surprise. As you can see from this Sat image, the front stretched from the North West down into the Southern Ocean.

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In the hope of seeing a water spout (we have had a few over the past month) my son and I headed off to the coast with our camera’s fully charged. On the way, I spotted this low, ominous looking cloud off to the south. There was some rotation and it looked like it was dropping, so we headed over to have a look.

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May 8-9 Storms-1

This cell dumped lots of rain and as we got close to where it had been, we saw small branches and leaves all over the road. Eventually, it dissipated and moved away to the south, so we continued towards the coast.

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We arrived at Kwinana Horse Beach to discover that the waves were washing right up to the dunes.  We had fished from this beach just a couple of weeks ago and normally, the water is about 40m from the dunes. Not today.

The sea was green and angry and every now and then a big set of waves would push foam and debris right up the access track. The wind was strong and blowing a constant gale. My son was nearly blown over a few times. This made holding the camera very difficult and using the tripod was not going to work either. So we sat in the car and waited, watching.

And then , on the horizon, we saw a growing dark mass. As the wind began to pick up, our excitement went up a level. You could tell by looking at the approaching front that this was going to hit us hard. To our right, looking north, we could see another cell further up the coast as it passed somewhere over Fremantle. There were some very interesting cloud formations going on and for a while, I thought we might actually see a spout form.

May 8-9 Storms-2

May 8-9 Storms-3

We watched this for a while before turning our attention to the cell out to sea. By now, it was just on the other side of Garden Island and closing in fast. We could see the rain curtain and the wind was really howling. I fired a few shots off before retreating to the car. And then it was on us. BANG. It hit with so much force that my car (2.5 tonne 4WD) was rocking and shaking.

May 8-9 Storms-5

May 8-9 Storms-4

May 8-9 Storms-6

8th May 2013 Winter Storm from Matt Fricker on Vimeo.

For a moment, there was a complete white out and the noise was deafening. And then, as suddenly as it had started… it was past. Within a minute or two, there was a patch of blue sky.

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We made the decision to go for a drive out toward Serpentine to see if any damage had been done. As we moved east, we could see lots of small branches and leaves over the roads and there was plenty of water on the sides of the road and in the paddocks. By now, our cell was out past Pinjarra. We found a safe place off the road and pulled over to check out some new cells that had  crossed the coast and were chasing us!  I took this 360° image just west of Serpentine. Click here to open the image viewer on a new page.

Although I prefer to head out and chase storms in summer, winter storms and cold fronts can be exciting to witness up close. Having said that, these storms can be dangerous and property can and does get damaged. Remember to stay safe, clean out your gutters and keep those yards tidy.

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