Darwin Day 6 Sun 18 Dec 2005
Travelled today: 246kms | Travelled so far: 1128kms | Allowance: 1200kms
Click the thumbnails for a larger view.
our afternoon at Lee Point, where
the beach was at low tide.
the Convector", the regular
Melville Island thunderstorm,
partook in it's daily
spent the afternoon with Jacob, a fellow chaser,
discussing the day's potential
which apparently was very good.
From early afternoon, a line of
cells was apparant on the 512km
rain radar and lightning tracker
from the NE corner of the Top End
diagonally down to the SW whiched
slowly tracked ENE all day. We
basically spent the afternoon
waiting for the line to get
closer before chasing.
dusk we took off down the Stuart
Hwy as the line became visible on
the horizon and was very
lightning active from the E down
to the S. We stopped at a known
lookout point on Elizabeth Valley
Rd just S of Noonamah, which gave
us good views of the line.
Lightning flashed constantly for
an hour and a half without much
apparent movement in the line.
Because it didn't seem to be moving very fast, we decided
to try and get closer but failed
to find a decent road running
east (Jabiru Hwy was too far N).
We headed south as we were told
the main part of the line was
going to cross the highway about
20 kms south of our location.
Before stopping on Acacia Gap Rd,
it seemed that the lightning
intensity had dropped
significantly. After stopping,
lightning had ceased completely,
but a massive shelf cloud with
several bands was now visible and
racing towards us.
by the complete lack of lightning
(I would normally expect forks to
be dropping out of the front) we
sat and watched it eerily move
overhead, half expecting a
lightning bolt to drop nearby. I
attempted some photos but the
front was moving very quickly and
the light was extremely low. I've
included them anyhow as a
reference. I've drastically
increased the contrast to try and
show some structure.
light dropped further as the
gustfront moved directly
overhead. The sense of closing-in
was incredible. The sound of
rustling trees was now apparent
not too far away, which I also
thought may have possibly been
rain. The shelf cloud was the
highest I've ever seen (or
thought I saw, considering the
low light) and the rain free
base, the deepest.
According to the radar,
the line of rain was moving
around 40kmh but this gustfront
was whizzing by much quicker.
Desperate to get back in front of
it we headed back up the highway
towards Darwin in the hope that
we'd see the front of it again,
but this time hopefully lit up a
little better by the city lights
of Darwin. Depending, of course,
on whether the shelf cloud
stretched that far north.
beat us back, but I did see a
strange column of something or
other which was lighter in colour
than the dark background of night
rising up into the front edge of
the guster. Not sure what that
was but it seemed very strange.
By the time we got a decent view
west over the water (the wharves
were closed) the front had well
and truly moved on, but it was
now apparent that there was
absolutely nothing behind it. The
sky was relatively clear, apart
from some light cirrus, but the
stars were certainly visible.
However, a few towers were now
going up above the remains of the
gustfront. The ocassional
lightning flash occured over the
southern part of the line to
Darwin's SW. We had a tower
building in front of us with
enough strength to produce a nice
rain shaft, but no lightning.
only a few more flashes occured
very much to our SW, with no
thunder audible. Shortly after
that, at around 1am we decided to
head back home. Considering the
setup, and the lightning show we
got in the distance in the early
evening, it was extremely
disappointing not to get anything
over us closer to Darwin.
a gulf line is due tomorrow arvo
so here's hoping.