link to pages in this section
25 '02 1
30 '03 1 2
19 '03 1 2
18 & 19 '03 1 2
21 to 22 '03 1 2
08 '04 1 2
5 '04 1
18 '05 1
19 '05 1
6 '05 1
28 '05 1
6 '05 1 2
25 '05 1
Lightning rich band of
storms sailed down from Eucla to Whyalla, starting late at night on 21st
December and finishing just before sunrise on 22nd.
Here's the storm report that I wrote
the next morning after this event (interlaced with links to pages
containing the relevant pictures):
Storms were brewing out near Nullabor in a line running nw / se all the way back up and across the border. The only way I was gunna get any storms was if that stuff made it all the way down to me.......luckily for me it did make it.........
First lightning flashes were visible at 10:30 at night and at that stage the storms were still the other side of Nonning which makes them about
130 - 150kms away (you can see for a long way around here). The system was slow moving and it was another hour before the first lightning
strikes became visible and I started taking photos, not many photos though, just a few to record what was there
in case the system died. [These reference photos are the top two
photos on photos page 1.]
While the storm was still a fair way away, I noticed whenever the cc lightning flashed a series of 5 dark objects blocking the bright rain curtain. Initially I thought it was a few trees blocking my view as these objects
didn't go far above the horizon. Went back to taking pics without thinking much more of it. Then after a few minutes I realised / remembered something - that the particular spot I was on
doesn't have any trees obscuring the view - that is why I go there. That then begged the question - what the hell was those 5 dark things? Now I observed the storm more carefully, i am fairly sure (99.9%) it was dark cloud structure going from the cloud base to the ground. What was it? Dunno, could be funnels, the edges were straight, smooth and fairly vertical and the structures was a solid black against the rain sheet brightness. If it was a gust front it was a funny looking
guster. It may have been very heavy but narrow rain columns falling say 5-10km in front of the storm. Hopefully the photos of them worked, then everyone can have a go at guessing.
[The lowering photos are the bottom three photos on photos
The lightning seemed to peak and trough, at times it was weak, unspectacular and infrequent and then at times it looked like
Dec 1-2, 2001. Either way I wasn't complaining as even a storm
with weak, unspectacular and infrequent lightning is a 100% turnaround on the rest of this storm season! The conditions for photography were brilliant, no wind, no rain and warm temps (photography equip is unaffected by the temp but the photographer likes warm temps when he is only wearing shorts and
t-shirt). One of the many bad things about this storm season was that even when storms were around, wind and rain have prevented me getting the cameras out and getting some photos.
The storms and lightning had got close enough and spectacular enough that I resumed taking pics around midnight. There were some ripper cg's, really bright but very fast. Lots of the times I only knew that I had seen a cg (against the rainsheet brightness caused by cc) due to the image being on my retina. The cg's
weren't incredibly branched - only I would say medium branching at best. The cc lightning was quite spectacular, illuminating the cloud base (which was quite defined and structured) really well. I only hope the pics I have taken do it justice.
See photos on page 2, page
3, page 4.
As the storm got closer the cg's arc'd up and were confined to two main areas that made taking photos easier. That is another thing that this seasons previous storms lacked which made the photography even more difficult, predictable lightning occurrence and predictable and slow storm movement. This storm had all of these.
Anyway continued to take pics of the storm up until it was too windy, rainy and plain unsafe to do anymore. I stayed out and watched as the storm went overhead, was planning on maybe getting some pics after the storm had passed should the rain ease off. But as soon as it was past there was no more lightning from it really - that happens all the time here, you can never really get lightning pics of the back end of the storm.
See photo page 5 and photo
Saw a bit of lightning flashing out in the north, could see a cloud illuminated by the lights of the city and steelworks up towards pt augusta that was producing the lightning, thought it was part of the main band and wouldnt be able to get any photos of it as the lightning which was already distant would only get further away. Couple more flashes (cgs) now more out to the north east than north looked to be getting closer - nah - must be that band just giving a last hurrah - wont get my camera out. Just after I made the decision not to get the camera out, two cg's ripped down out to my north east. Still just the other band giving itself a good send off. 30 seconds after I made decision not to get camera out, thud, down came the best cg of the night, out to my north east, still about 10 or 15km away and came down from such a height it was awesome in size.
(Mad scramble to get camera out and set up)
Got camera out and going. Couple of big cg's come down - all falling on either side of the current cameras viewing area.
(Mad scramble to get other camera with wider angle lens out and set up)
Both cameras going, hopefully captured some good pics on both - these will be the best of the night if they work. The cloud was pumping out really good cgs (and some good cc). The cg's were coming down from high up and spearing through the lower and middle level cloud around the edge of the storm. It was a pity that where I was set up (to take the pics of the system that came down from
Eucla) had the view to the north east and east obscured by hills so that I couldnt see where on the strikes were landing to. After the storm appeared to move away to the east, packed up and drove east towards the coast to see if I could get some more pics from there. I was able to get some more pics, the storm was over Pt Pirie at this stage. Only got 3 pics, first pic hopefully should be good, storm was all but gone at this stage and so was I!
Photos of right mover - page
1 and page 2
Summary of night, was out viewing lightning from 10:30 on sat til 05:30 on sunday morning, was taking pics from 11:30 to 05:30. Storms were medium to high in terms of lightning spectacularity. Storms and lightning were very good in terms of photographic conditions. Probably took 70 pics all up, should probably have 10 good ones and maybe 2-4 really good. Lets hope the pics worked and that I havent made any of the technical mistakes that I have made throughout this season (incorrect focus / aperture selection etc).
When I got home, I loaded up computer and had a look at animated radar to find out the cause of the second little storm, what had happened is that a nice little right mover brewed up just north and east of
Pt Augusta and came sailing due south down behind the the main band until about
Pirie and then it turned south east and headed towards Clare.