There was plenty of instability today but relatively low surface moisture resulting in storms which were high based. When it's drier, air rises further before it condenses, so cloud bases are higher. Storms tend to lack the surface features we love like lovely thick shelf clouds, but lightning becomes much more spectacular because more of the bolt is visible.
Unfortunately, although these storms were very lightning active (one bolt knocked out power to our house in Springwood), it all occurred during the day making it very difficult to photograph. These storms would've looked spectacular at night and I actually would've had some lightning photos to show for it. Never mind... the season is early!
We'd already spent a lovely long wine-guzzling weekend with friends in Stanthorpe, so it was here our chase started. It was a rare luxury to not start the day with a long drive to the target area.
We weren't far out of Stanthorpe before towers became visible to the W. The biggest problem would be whether to stay S or head N. I pondered this for a bit before heading N to Warwick. Got bored waiting, so we headed W towards the line. With very little structure visible, we headed back E to stay ahead of the storms.
This is just N of Warwick:
In Warwick and the sky was becoming very turbulent:
We stopped NE of Warwick to enjoy the regular lightning bolts which were now falling.
We continued E towards Maryvale:
We then farewelled the great views as we headed over the range through Cunningham's Gap, stopping again near Beaudesert.
The line seemed to catch it's skirt on Toowoomba, with activity continually regenerating there for a time.
Radar at 3:11pm
Sadly, despite the interesting cloud base twirliness, there was very little in the way of proper storm structure so we decided to head home and drop the wife off then play things by ear. I was really hoping for a light show after dark. On our way, our neighbour texted to say they'd lost power.
When we arrived home, the cause was clear. Lightning had hit a power pole just around the corner freeing a number of cables which were left draped over one poor family's front hedge and over the road. The lightning also blew out some timber from the pole. Would've loved to have seen it when it happened!
During the afternoon, the number of Energex trucks grew from one to around four, complete with flashing lights and traffic controllers. At around 8:30pm and still without power, I took a sticky beak and saw they were working on the fourth pole along from the one that got hit, partially explaining why the restoration was taking so long. The strike occured around 3:20pm and power was finally restored just before 9pm. It ended up being quite relaxing chilling out by candle light in a very quiet neighbourhood!
While storms today weren't severe, despite the BoM warning of that possibility, it was still great to get some activity so early in the season. The official storm season starts in October so the number of events we've had recently bodes well, in my opinion.
Full Brisbane 256km radar loop 4pm-10am