There was lots of instability today but very low shear, meaning cells would be slow moving indicating a risk of flash flooding but also possibly short lived storms.
I started down the Cunningham Hwy stopping at Silverdale for the first SE Qld cell of the day. Constant rumbling thunder was a good sign.
Staying ahead I darted N to Coleyville for a brief chaser convergence with David Sercombe.
After only a few minutes, raindrops meant it was time to go so I headed ENE stopping between Harrisville and Peak Crossing as a flurry of CGs (cloud to ground lightning bolts) landed less than a km away:
I moved on to just N of Peak Crossing for a chaser convergance with Tejay as the storm continued to develop nicely:
The cell looked to be shifting N slightly. I took off up the Ipswich-Boonah Rd and noticed the anvil overhead, stopping at Purga.
I struggled for a view around Willowbank as the storm continued to evolve. By the time I stopped near the quarry just W of Amberley the cell was weakening significantly:
With new activity starting near Allora, I took a punt and dumped this storm and took off W down the Rosewood-Laidley Rd stopping near Grandchester for a view back E at the decaying storm.
This mountainous arm of the Lockyer Valley was a nightmare for views until I got just past a tiny place called Blenheim. As I approached, a new cell was tracking E towards me from Toowoomba dropping regular huge CGs.
The Allora cell continued to grow and produce a huge black core on radar. Here's a view of some well defined base features from that storm to the SW, taken at the same time as it produced its most intense radar echo:
I continued on to what I knew was the last of the views E of the range and watched the storm come to me.
Meanwile, another storm was intensifying over Grantham and heading SE towards me as well:
My plan at this stage was to track the southern storm as it looked to be the most severe, so I headed back E.
Trouble is the northern cell was also intensifying and dropping regular CGs. I was pretty much right in the middle of these two storms which were on a collision course.
Normally, I'd prefer to stay in front of the storms but it was too late for that. These two cells were about to collide and I didn't feel that I had much choice but to hang back. The radar shows that as far as avoiding the rain from these two storms, I was somehow in the perfect spot. I'd also scored some pretty decent lightning out of the back of some storms lately, so I didn't mind sitting tight.
I shifted back W a few kms and waited for something interesting to happen.
Thunder was constant for the next hour and a half as I watched various cloud formations whiz by in the strong winds. Eventually the sun lowered and bathed my cloud dome in rich orange colours.
I continued to wait, hoping again for a light show after dark. It wasn't overly impressive but a few forks did make themselves known:
I turned around at one point and was excited to see some flashes from a weak anvil towards Allora. I started heading that way as it looked to be a nice discrete cell, but it weakened soon after. I turned around at approximately 8pm and started for home.
On the way I saw extensive flooding around Grantham and Gatton. I didn't take too many photos but it was heartbreaking to see glassy reflections from large fields on either side of the road. Had these folks not suffered enough?
Thanks to a suggestion by my good friend Jeff, I've started tracking my chases. The track reveals not only the full journey but at high zoom levels it's possible to work out where I've stopped along the way to take photos. Today involved quite a bit of back-tracking, which is less evident on the map, but hopefully you get the idea. I'd love to eventually animate the track with a radar overlay to show my position in relation to the storms during the chase. Not quite sure how to implement that yet though.
Open in Google Maps
128km radar loop 12pm-11pm