Thursday 29th October 2020
After finishing work early, I was able to drop south of Tweed Heads in northern NSW to watch a tail end charlie storm develop across the Northern Rivers. This storm rapidly intensified as it encountered the SBF (Sea Breeze Front), becoming a HP monster with giant hail. I decided to see just how big the hail was. I encountered hail to the size of crickets balls (8cm) leaving me with a smashed windscreen and numerous trophies in my car....All in the name of science.
Saturday 24th October 2020
Waking up on the morning of the 24th made things difficult. Overcast and rainy conditions made today's forecast just that bit harder however, the dynamics at play this day would ensure thunderstorms fired up, it was just a matter of where. A strong surface low was becoming established across the southern Queensland and northern NSW border, extending an arcing dryline off to the north-northeast. It was evident that the models were hinting at a dryline bulge across southern Qld, focusing moisture and shear an hour or two to our south whilst more certain storm activity with a weaker cap was to our north.
We left the town of Miles to head to Surat to play the dryline bulge, clearing the back of the mornings rainband to find howling east-northeasterly winds. After eating lunch in Surat, we watched two towers going up, one to the northwest and one of the southwest, both in giant road hole regions (as chasing in large parts of Australia is). Knowing the southern storm was entering a more favourable environment, we blasted south whilst watching this beastly storm strengthen dramatically. It became apparent quickly that this was a violent supercell with a strong meso, large wall cloud and big hail.
Friday 23rd October 2020
Today was the first day of two on the road. Although we weren't expecting explosive supercells, high based lightning storms were the order of the day, with potentially upscale growth into a line by the evening. This is exactly what eventuated on the Maranoa and Warrego region of western Queensland. High based storms developed mid-afternoon before a strong line advanced east into the late evening. My mate Jason and his wife travelled from Darwin down for this set-up, with our second chase day a day to remember.