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Thursday, 11th October 2018

Thursday, October 11, 2018, was shaping up to be a rather significant storm day across parts of the Darling Downs, South East Coast, Wide Bay, and Burnett region. 

A sharpening dryline would develop over the Darling Downs as a southerly change moved and stalled in southern QLD's Wide Bay and Burnett region. Excellent wind shear, steep lapse rates, and rather nice LLJ would develop during the late afternoon and evening. Isolated supercells would develop just after midday, with the initial supercell south of Goondiwindi producing copious amounts of golf ball hail, some larger, totally destroying one of my friend's vehicles, who was able to chase that storm. 

During the late afternoon, a cluster of towers developed west of Goondiwindi. Due to a favourable environment, these towers quickly developed into a supercell. This storm went on to produce lovely structure before moving into unchaseable terrain.

Just when it seemed like the day was done, another storm developed at dusk. Into the evening hours, it produced some stunning classic supercell features before slowly dying.

Friday, 12th October 2018

After an enjoyable chase on the 11th, my plan of staying out in western central QLD might have backfired, as the better environment rapidly shifted well north overnight. I woke up on the 12th to overcast, drizzle conditions. A couple of embedded thunderstorms were already underway, and it looked like the party would be spoilt.

However, watching the satellite loop where the surface low and trough were located, it appeared that the cloud had started to clear, allowing heating to occur in a narrow band. I blasted west of Bollon in Queensland to sunny skies and waited. Out this way, there is no internet or phone reception, and just the one road (highway) which is heavily treed. I waited and watched as popcorn developed across the area before a cell just to my west blew up and intensified rapidly. Inflow began streaming into this storm, with inflow stingers developing and a ragged wall cloud. I went to core punch the best I could on the singular road and was lucky enough to capture hail to 2-3cm in size (quite substantial for this area), lots of close GCs and heavy rainfall that began to lead to flash flooding. Sadly, this storm moved to the southeast and into unchasable territory again.

This was a fantastic reward for patience and hard work. One thing about storm chasing is that you can never rely on having the Internet and looking at radar to do the job. You must always keep an eye on the sky, observations, and satellite data.

Friday, 14th December 2018

This day was a bit of a "sleeper" day. Moderate instability and sufficient wind shear were in place across the western Darling Downs to support supercells; however, there was a chance that storms would become outflow dominant once maturing.

During the late afternoon, we moved west of Millmerran and waited for this storm to move towards us (road hole). It was evident that this storm was indeed a very intense supercell. Sadly, this storm soon gusted out (rear flank downdraft) and became too powerful for the inflow winds, undercutting the storm and slowly dying. We blasted east, hoping that this OFB (outflow boundary) would help develop more storms to the east. Fortunately, this happened, and we were treated to a wicked guster on the eastern Darling Downs close to sunset!

23rd March, 2019

On this day, we decided to target northern NSW. It wasn't the best set-up as moisture was a bit thin, but it was worth a crack. A cluster of storms developed and steadily moved northwest of Grafton, NSW. Sadly, this region is full of trees with no roads or views. So it was over an hour later (south of Casino, NSW) that we finally had a decent view. This storm had rapidly organised into a high-based supercell with decent structure and some sensational cloud-to-ground lightning. Soon enough,  it produced a significant outflow push, effectively killing the storm. Later that evening, another storm cluster developed on its outflow, producing stunning sunset lightning. Not the best chase, but it was fun regardless.

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