Storm Event 6/7-9-13( Gascoyne, Wheatbelt, Lower West)

The most promising setup for thunderstorm development since last summer was forecast for most of the southern half of Western Australia on the 6th of September, and that prompted a certain trip for myself to again get out and try to capture this magical weather phenomenon on my camera.

Just over a week before the storms arrived I noticed on my daily check of forecasted weather that I should start preparing for a road trip up towards the lower Gascoyne region to capture my favourite part, the development.

My day started at around 1030 with a drive to Coorow via Bindoon and the Bindoon Bakery. No storm chase can start without a stop here. So after enjoying a curry lamb pie, I was off up the Great Northern Highway towards Midlands Rd and on to Coorow via Moora.

I arrived in Coorow just after 1330, and had another look at the radar, and satellite imagery to see if anything looked like it was going to develop in the area. I wasn’t in luck, with storms started to fire a long way east on a low pressure trough line cutting through the state. I didn’t worry to much about it, as the afternoon was young, and it gave me a bit of time to scout the area a bit. I am currently working on a time-lapse project and the fields around here work perfectly for one of the scenes I wanted to capture, so off I went to find one suitable for my project.
I found an incredible site and set my camera up and started my time-lapse of the clouds building and collapsing. I had some more time up my sleeve now as my time-lapse was set for 1hr, so I had a bit of a walk around playing on my iPhone.

Coming close to the end of my time-lapse I noticed some development a long way to my north and north-east, so I opened my laptop and again checked the lightning tracker, and it confirmed a major thunderstorm developing very quickly between 150-200km away. I was in two minds, either packed up my camera, stop the time-lapse and move now, or wait for the time-lapse to finish. I decided to wait, as I only had 10minutes or so remaining, but it was the longest 10minutes ever. I was pacing up and down the road, watching these thunderstorm cells popping up and going crazy. They were too far away to see any lightning, but they were large cauliflower clouds with an every increasing anvil spreading across the sky.

My time-lapse finished, I packed my gear up and raced east towards Latham.
I kept my eyes on the development, and I had to pull over near Latham to capture one of the storms.


As I got to Latham, I had to turn south and now head towards Wubin for fuel, and to meet with fellow storm chaser and friend Steve Brooks (owner of Perth Weather Live,

I arrived in Wubin, and met with Steve. He had been watching the cells to the north as well, so with a quick check of the radar to see the direction these cells were going, we saw that they were going to cross well south of Paynes Find to the north, and so the decision was made to get north, and find a spot to set up and capture these systems as they passed us by.

While we were driving the sun started to set and the thunderclouds become illuminated with incredible colours. It was incredible to witness. We were so focused to get to our spot that we missed the opportunity to capture the sunset at its best, but, we still still got a bit of colour and you can see that how it would’ve been incredible 5-10mins before hand.


When we arrived at our location, we set up and started to capture the storms in the distance. One was to our North-East, one was t our North-West. Both were firing on all cylinders. Flashing, and sparking everywhere. Every second multiple strikes illuminated the clouds. So what did I do. I set up my time-lapse to capture it. I havent finished processing that yet, but when I do, I will post a link to the page it will be hosted on.


Then the night really began.

A shot of a meteor flying over first cells of the night to the north.


As the first cells passed over and headed east, the skies to the west now started to light up. Cells were quickly developing to our west, and were going nuts!!

A shot of the Milky Way with the storms firing underneath.


Large amounts of rain mixed with hail were falling from incredible formations in the clouds.
Something about the structure I just love underneath thunderstorms.


Lightning was all around


One of the final cells that passed over before I had to make the long drive home.


I had to leave, as I had to get back to Perth. The drive home was very eventful. Large hail, strong winds, lightning all around.

An extremely eventful night, but I am so glad I was able to witness it, and not on my own either. Cheers Steve, it was so great to have someone else there, yelling out as much as I was!! 🙂

I just hope this is an indication of a very active spring/summer storm season in the Midwest and Wheatbelt.

More photos to come.

Till next time.

Goat Farm, PMBC, Perth Hills

The ‘Goat Farm’ is an off road – downhill mountain bike circuit located on the Darling Scarp in Greenmount, about 30km NE of Perth. The Farm has a few challenging down hill circuits ranging from difficult to very difficult. This is the first time I have visited the track since a big fall a few years ago. The result, an almost written off bike, and a very close to written off Jordan. It was that crash that saw me not ride a bike for 3 years, and to be honest I was a bit hesitant to visit again. But a bit of persuasion from good mate, and very skilled mountain bike Ralph, saw me take the plunge and head up with him early this morning. I took my camera gear, one to get a few shots of Ralph doing his thing, but also the track is visited regularly by very skilled riders. So the chance to get a few shots egged me to get the DSLR out.
We arrived with no-one else in the the carpark, we got on the bike and I did a few runs, it was great to finally get back on the seat, and it didn’t really take that long to get back into the rhythm, even if I was a touch slow.

After the ride, I got my camera out, went up to the skills area to get a few shots of Ralph, but while I was there a couple of younger riders were ripping up part of the downhill track. A few pics!

We will both be back here again very soon. Love it!

Central Wheatbelt Storm Event 2/10/11

The day started in Kellerberrin in the wheatbelt region of Western Australia. I was initially heading to Kellerberrin to watch my fathers horse race. Though during my daily look at the weather I was informed of potential thunderstorms to develop in and around the south-west and central wheatbelt regions of WA, and that our location would be almost in the middle of it.
At around 1300 the build up had started and you could see the cloud starting to stand up,
in fact we started to get a light shower of rain from a very ominous looking cloud that towered above the racecourse (amazing that only 15mins before it wasn’t there, don’t you just love that).
1315 we left the racecourse and proceeded to the service station to grab a few refreshments and discuss the plan of attack for the afternoon.
We noticed a developing cell to our west and we proceeded to head there to try and get a couple of photos off. We got there, I set up my camera in a paddock and got off a couple of shots, although it quickly became apparent that it was loosing structure and wasn’t going to produce anything substantial. While the disappointment was setting in on a possible missed opportunity, we both noticed a cell developing to the NE. We checked the radar and it confirmed our suspicions. The radar was showing a growing cell and the visual we had showed good structure, and then LIGHTNING.
It was great to finally see a CG and it quickly raised our spirits.
The radar indicated the storm was tracking to the SE and we estimated it would cross the Great Eastern Highway about 20-40km east of Kellerberrin.
We jumped in the car and made haste through Kellerberrin again and headed out towards the east. We found a great spot about 25km east of Kellerberrin and pulled over and set up ( I don’t think I would’ve got a shot like this if we had gone further ).

It was quite calm when we arrived but 5 mins later we had wind associated with the downbursts from the storm in excess of 40km/h.

After the rain set in from this cell, we checked the radar again and observed cells now becoming very active to the west of Kellerberrin. We raced about 40km through Kellerberrin and towards the closest most active cells. We had to divert north off the main highway about 5km up a gravel road and found ourselves smack bang in-between two cells, one east that was producing very heavy rain and one to our west that was developing very quickly. We did notice substantial rotation at the cloud base and very strong structure development, which had me thinking we were watching a severe storm (possibly a supercell) developing.
This is the shot I got of that particular cell,


This storm continued to develop and I was taking a pretty silly risk by staying out while it was approaching us. I wanted to capture the rotation on a time-lapse and also a lightning strike hitting the field, so I stayed out for as long as possible. I didn’t get the lightning strike, but I did get the time lapse. You can view it on youtube, and I will post the link at the end of this post.
Jumping back in the car we headed towards more developing cells further west and this time we jumped on a track on the south side of the highway, as it provided an un-interrupted view of the approaching system.

This particular cell produced large hail and it passed right over us. I was a little worried that my old mans Landcrusier was going to become a casualty of hail damage, but we were lucky and it didn’t receive any.

We left this storm and headed even further west towards Meckering.
My video may as well continue this blog entry from here because I have footage of us just outside of the town that shows the system stalled over Meckering, producing very heavy rain (6-10mm in 10mins) and frequent lightning.

The Meckering system was the last storm we covered for the day and so we started out 2 1/2 hr drive home.
We were lucky for the day, the storms seemed to develop one after the other as we headed west. It was as if they knew we were coming and would intensify as we approached. Not that we minded at all, because this day was a great introduction to chasing storms. I look forward to chasing more in the coming months and sharing the experience with everyone.

I produced a small 5min video showing some of the storms we tracked for the day. I uploaded it to YouTube and it can be found at