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Marty Pouwelse
          Home > Severe Weather 2005 / 2006 Season > Darwin Chase Dec 2005 > Day 11 • Fri 23 Dec 2005

DarwinDay 11Fri 23 Dec 2005

Travelled today: 80kms | Travelled so far: 2136kms | Allowance: 2200kms

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I woke up late after getting to sleep very early this morning and spent most of the day trying to occupy myself with no storm activity around. The first sign of life was after midnight with a cell to the ESE.

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Thankfully, it seemed to be moving towards me.

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After a while a second cell just to it's NW (left in the next pic) started getting lightning active as well. It then became a bit of a game trying to decide which one was giving off the best lightning.

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They were moving quite slowly as thunder gradually became audible. The cells dropped heaps of lightning, but nothing that I hadn't already seen. A WNW track was now evident and as it approached I decided I wanted to get closer, so I drove up to Lee Point in the hope that I would intercept it.

Standing on the beach at Lee Point was very unnerving. The cell on the left (most westerly cell) was now dropping CGs over the water, while the easterly cell was just north off the point and sparking inside continuously with the most intensely bright flashes. There was no other ambient lighting here to balance out my eyes. There was also the fact that the beach is a very dangerous place to be with a storm nearby. I was desperate to get some good close lightning shots, so I staggered around the sand dunes trying to find somewhere safe. Occasionally, a very bright flash would go off with a huge rumble making my heart race. I argued with myself for several minutes about the pros and cons of setting up here and finally decided that it was too dangerous.

There was a stretch of road not too far back with an excellent view W so I stopped there. With constant flickering the storm seemed to be veering slightly S towards me (perhaps it was just the base moving this way), and it looked like a small gustfront was starting to take shape (second pic below).

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There was a huge antenna mast in this field and I was 'willing' the lightning like crazy to hit it, but as usual, nature did not oblige. It came close with a nicely situated cloud-to-cloud (CC) fork right above it.

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Anvil crawlers were then starting to show themselves from the more easterly storm which was over the water.

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These crawlers just got stronger and stronger with some being the most spectacular I've seen in a long time!

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The storm continued to move W dropping endless CGs over the ocean, though the rate slowed to around one strike every minute or two. I've included only two of about half a dozen long time-exposures that are all similar with multiple CGs.

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The lightning activity slowed, but didn't seem to want to die. Eventually, it just moved too far for me to stay interested. Also, the time was now 4:20am and I was ready for sleep.

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