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Marty Pouwelse
          Home > Severe Weather 2005 / 2006 Season > Darwin Chase Dec 2005 > Day 9 • Wed 21 Dec 2005

DarwinDay 9Wed 21 Dec 2005

Travelled today: 383kms | Travelled so far: 1816kms | Allowance: 1800kms

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Yesterday we were told about a 'wave' of storms to arrive some time around 2am this morning. We woke at 1:30am and nothing was happening. At 5am I woke up and noticed lightning flashing outside. I woke Jeff and we immediately drove out to Gunbar St in Bayview for it's nearly 360 degree views. Lightning-active cells were approaching from the E and NE.

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The cells had a small gustfront, but it seemed most of the lightning activity occured either north or south of us.

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This is the inside of the gustfront as it came over us:

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We stayed until sunrise and got a few more forks.

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After the lightning had ceased, and with Jeff getting dive-bombed by a sensitive plover, we went home to bed till 11am.

We got up later and jumped online for a while. Around 3pm Jacob SMSed about a cell to our E. I checked map and realised we were too late to get to Noonamah so we went down the Channel Island Rd instead (which veers back to the S of Darwin, instead of SE). It dropped a few lightning bolts with some good rumbles of thunder as it tracked W near us and eventually away from us.

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At this point we could see several new cells building inland, but the healthiest was directly to the E.

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On our way, we stopped for a drink and noticed this sobering sign:

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Considering the poster, I actually found it a little difficult to concur. Back on the road and playing tourist again:

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We thought the idea of no speed limits was novel (although according a sign, it seems a speed limit will be introduced soon).

Jake SMSed again to inform us that our cell looked good on radar. It was certainly looking good from our perspective! A second tower was building up next to it and they seemed to both grow in tandem.

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We tried to find a road that went north so we could go up and meet it (a road to a town apparently called Woolner on the map) but failed to find the turnoff.

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We continued along the Jabiru Hwy until we found an information shelter which showed a lookout nearby. We continued E a few kms to the turnoff to a place called "Bird Billabong", then another 1.6kms up the road. Along with constant rumbling thunder, our storm was now producing the most rock solid updrafts I've ever seen!

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We were pretty disappointed with this view, till we discovered that the lookout was actually at the end of a 1.5km walk! With a storm approaching, I wasn't too keen to be stuck in the middle of nowhere without a shelter...

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