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