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Marty Pouwelse
          Home > Severe Weather 2005 / 2006 Season > Darwin Chase Dec 2005 > Day 7 • Mon 19 Dec 2005

DarwinDay 7Mon 19 Dec 2005

Travelled today: 185kms | Travelled so far: 1313kms | Allowance: 1400kms

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Today is the first day of our Darwin visit that I would call a successful chase day.

The day held some promise with an apparent gulf line on it's way since yesterday. A gulf line is a kind of squall line originating at the Gulf of Carpentaria which makes it's way west across the Top End. This one was due to arrive this afternoon or evening. Some unrelated pileus was a nice way to start the day:

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Pileus is the condensation 'cap' or lens-like cloud over the updraft, which is a good sign that the updraft is strong.

Around 3pm we went and visited Hector the Convector as it anvilled out and let out it's regular booms of thunder, accentuated by the otherwise silent sands of the endless beaches at Lee Point.

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Around 4pm we saw some congestus towers starting to anvil-out inland, much to my surprise. This was what I was expecting every day since I got here. Cells which develop inland generally move west-ish making them available to be chased, unlike the many cells we'd seen developing or moving over the ocean.

We took off down the Stuart Hwy stopping around Palmerston for food and fuel. Most of the anvils we'd seen were way off in the distance, so we hung around at the service centre and watched Brad Hodge knock up his double century. About half an hour after we arrived we took off again and two anvils were close enough to chase with more columns going up nearby.

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The closest cell was ESE which was perfectly down the Arnhem Hwy, so we took that turnoff. About 20kms up the road is Window on the Wetlands, a tourist centre perched on Beatrice Hill with awesome views in almost every direction.

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As the cell approached, an obvious gustfront was forming with some nice lightning bolts dropping out of the front.

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As the guster moved overhead the outflow winds hit, and it was difficult to stand up in it. Jeff is clearly excited to finally be in amongst the action:

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Soon after, the rain arrived with more lightning and we enjoyed the storm as it unleashed over us.

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About 45 mins later when it had passed, a new cell became visible to the NE with a very solid-looking gustfront.

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Unfortunately, it was too far to chase and over area inaccessible by road, but by now the edge of the gulf line was becoming visible directly to our E.

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A line of storms was going up behind a very defined shelf cloud with several bands and a gustfront underneath, and also dropping some very nice lightning bolts.

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Lightning was still visible from the cell that had just moved over us, and yet another new storm was also developing to our N.

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This cell was also out of the question for us as it was tracking west, away from us. With the gulf line heading straight for us, however, we had no reason to move! It was difficult to tell how far away the new line of storms was but it took longer than expected to arrive at our location. Our plan this time, was to stay ahead of it as it moved W and watch it develop.

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