It is not very often in Perth that we are in a position to be on the receiving end of border line severe storms on almost consecutive days. (3 days apart to be exact). The storms in the middle of the week were just awesome, but they were really just a precursor to what was to come 3 days later.
Watching the charts after coming home exhausted from the mid-week chase, a few of us noticed that the weekend, particularly Saturday was going to bring a very good chance of well set-up storms.
The charts said the best place to be and where they were going to be at their most impressive was up around the Moora sub-districts at around 3pm. But as is usually the case, the storms started firing a touch earlier then planned. So I headed off an hour or so earlier then I had initially intended to.
The first place to meet was Bindoon, a small to medium sized farming town on the outskirts of the Perth metropolitan area, and home to one of the best bakeries ever. This was also the location that I would meet up with fellow photographer Glenn Casey.
After meeting up, we looked at the weather radar and realised that the storms had really started to develop. So it was a case of get to Moora, and to get there fast. While driving north we paralleled a very mature thunderstorm to our east. It was huge, and it was with no question that we pulled over to take a few photos. But knowing that this wasn’t the only storm that was going to develop for the day we jumped back into the cars and headed further north towards a farm we knew would give us great views of the developing cells.
We arrived at a canola field about 35km south of Moora, and realised quickly that this was going to be a very interesting day. Storms were popping and exploding right in front of us.
I took this 48 image panorama from the location.
The storms were just firing up everywhere, one after the other. Just to the north (left hand side of the above image) a quite severe storm was developing and we thought it would be a great opportunity to catch and jump in front of it to grab a few structure shots. So off we headed, a 25km drive to the south towards New Norcia.
We pulled up just off the side of the road, about 10km to the west of New Norcia. Looking north the storms were glowing green and billowing with inflow winds easily reaching 40-50km/h. It was spurting cloud to cloud (CC) lightning and a few cloud to ground (CG) strikes, with the thunder incredibly loud. It surely was getting very close, and just as it looked like we were right in the path, the storm started tracking slightly to the SW. It was being pulled towards the coast by a developing low pressure system hanging just off the coast. It was good for us, it gave us a fantastic opportunity to get some great photos, but what it meant now, is that the northern suburbs of Perth were now it the direct line of these very intense, hail ridden thunderstorms. Hail the size of golf balls had now been recorded and all I could see now was the chance of a repeat of the devastating hail storm back in March 2010.
I shot this photo as the storm started to track SW.
After the storm passed to our west, it was now apparent that the storms were definitely under the influence of the low pressure off the coast, and they were heading SW towards Perth. To keep up with these storms we had to make a decision and make it quickly to what our next move was going to be. We decided to get moving as soon as possible to get towards the coast. We drove from New Norcia, through Mogumber, towards Regans Ford, and then on to the coast via north of Gingin, and finally at Two Rocks. We arrived just on sunset, and what a colourful sunset it was. With a system now to our north heading out to sea. I took this shot.
The winds were howling on the coast. Inflow winds to 50kmh would be a rough estimate, but I don’t think I would be far off. Sea spray was a bit of an issue trying to get a clear shot, but we still managed to get a few shots of lightning as the daylight disappeared.
In conclusion the day was quite the event. I haven’t chased a storm where it was forecast to head SE away from the metro area, to then change complete direction and put the metro area at great risk from very serious damage.
The storms were well covered by fellow chasers, all with different reports and encounters and kept live reports coming in.
I used multiple resources while chasing these storms, the official forecast and radar images from the Bureau of Meteorology Australia, Weatherzone.com.au, and Perth Weather Live ( PWL ) ( Perthweatherlive.com.au ). Perth Weather Live can also be found on Facebook. I am also apart of a fantastic group at WaWeathergroup.com. Both PWL and WaWeathergroup are a constant form of support and provide me with constant updates. So I thank them both.
The wild weather is certainly not over for the Perth area. With a very strong (very late in the year) low pressure system/ cold front due to impact the coast mid week.
I hope to be out and about during this coming system, so I hope to bring you photos, possible video and another report of my encounters during the day.
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Until the next event……..
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