Classic supercell 100km west of Sydney 7th February 2007

Feb 27, 2004
I must say this for Australia is very unusual and the most impressive classic supercell I have observed whilst chasing. It was also great that the chase distance was relatively low - not much more than a quarter tanks of fuel used. It's rotation was in Australian terms was strong and certainly would have been tornado warned had it occurred in the US.
The adrenalin is still pumping!
Jimmy Deguara

This beaver tail was so large I could not fit on frame being close up though it was very thick! The storm at this point was showing serious rotation!
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Absolutely incredible, and this is one more thing that makes Australia more like America, it just rotates backwards for us and yall drive on the other side of the road. I've been there on vacation before, lovely country, reminded me of America, well done.
First picture here shows the mesocyclone overhead rapidly rotating

beaver tail extended 10km out from the storm!

hailstones to 6cm in diameter as the vault passed over followed by the core

Actually Justin, I would suggest that this is the best classic supercell we have ever observed in this country. Most of the time, supercells become outflow dominant pretty quickly but this one didn't for a change making it a remarkable event and very close to producing a tornado.

The whole sequence is here:

Our forum discussions with more video stills and so forth are in this thread:


Jimmy Deguara
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I'm sure if it was daylight, I would have seen something like that in Andalusia,FL the night of the 2nd, you can read my account in the chase reports forum. I admit, those are incredible pics, I haven't seen something like that since I was home in Nashville for April 7th!, excellent job. Shoot, I might come to Australia for a different reason than seeing toilets go the wrong way.
Incredible pictures, that storm is beautiful and the pictures by Jimmy look like a tornado is on the ground. Awesome structure especially with the beaver/inflow tail.

Amazing... We should have that here in the Northern Hemisphere in approx 1-2 months.
Hi Jimmy! I'm glad that australian storm season is flying out! I love that kind of classic structure, and I see also an interesting lowering under the updraft: difficult to call it tornado but it's impressive anyway. Awesome pics.;)
Jimmy got it again, awesome catch, mate! Congrats on this amazing supercell, that inflow/beaver tail is simply awesome! How interesting to see those "mirrored" storms there.

Good luck and stay safe until May, ya know where ya'll find me :D
Beautiful storm! Was the tornadic-looking lowering in fact tornadic? You haven't said that it was so I'm guessing it was not, but either way it's hard to tell from still photos.
I am guessing the topographic features induced condensation leading to the base. I don't believe there was rapid rotation for a tornado to develop. There was no screaming inflow. This is the difference between the Great Plains and the hills (this region varied from 900m to 1290m at the highest point where this feature occurred).

Quite impressive. You will note that rotation seemed to increase as it passed overhead. The timelapse speed up ratio was significantly reduced at this stage!


Jimmy Deguara
Wow---Pass me my blood pressure meds!

Thanks for posting the video to go along with the excellent stills. I'd have trouble sleeping after viewing that one.

The various wall clouds and lowerings certainly looked like they meant business---have you saved any radar or surface data?
Wow, great timelapse there Jimmy. That was a nicely rotating supercell. It looks like it tried to tornado many times there as it was sucking scud right off the ground.

Yes the wall clouds developed rather rapidly and it was good to see separation. We don't know what happened once the storm left us as it would have taken 2 hours to get to the position of the next road in front of it. Even though this was very close to Sydney region (population 4 million), the national park NW of Sydney where this storm passed through has no roads due to the very rugged terrain. We didn't even bother giving chase. I just realised though that we may have been able to track the storm and watch from under the base.

Here is a radar prepared by Michael Bath (radar is supplied courtesy of the Bureau of Meteorology). Note a hook on the first storm as it passed through Lithgow - this was the region atht etime of increased rotation

We had a second cell pass over and dump copious amounts of hail up to at least 3cm perhaps larger.

More data supplied here:

One of the differences on this day compared to others seems to be the 850hPa winds. Usually our soundings see a turning quickly to the NW and this does not allow favourable turning as was observed in this event.


Jimmy Deguara
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My day was a bit less rewarding - after getting the forecast target areas and strategy right at home, I threw it all out the window in the field and followed a severe storm into inchasable country.

Then I spent the rest of the late afternoon trying to mow down a supercell in the upper Hunter - after 100 miles and dirt roads, kangaroos and mud I gave up.

These photos are of an ealrier storm ( the one the suckered me )

Great stuff Jimmy and Michael, certainly makes me want to head E coast at some stage, there is only so much of a wet season this tropical lad can take, awesome strobeshows aside. As I said in a different forum JD, this is the best example of a classic SC I've seen in Aust, and apart from a couple of LPs the best from here full stop :) Great to see you in the area too Michael and love that vortices pic
I have to ensure I have not taken the credit of this chase as both David Croan and Paul Graham were with me as well. They certainly are both stoked. With the late nights and so many forums to answer to, I forgot to mention. It definitely was a team effort and one of those chases I will treasure. And just to note, I had a discussion with Michael Bath on this issue, one never knows until the chase is on what could be unfolding. I don't have a picture of the storm when we decided to investigate it - it looked basically crap - certainly not as good as other storms further southwest at the time! It was the storm we decided to pick based on its behaviour.
Jimmy Deguara
Michael T,

Have you timelpase of that storm as in the second photograph? Interesting base in that photograph?


Jimmy Deguara
Great pics Jimmy! This definitely puts SDS in 3rd gear for me. 3 more weeks for "Tornado Prepardness" here in Chicago. March 1st = Happy time for me. Even if nothing happens at least it'll be "in season." Awesome structure, great catch!
Nice pics and time-lapse. Even with our recent activity nearby, your documentation fuels my passion that much more. I just have to keep telling myself "patience, Paul, you still have quite a bit of preparation before official chase season anyway." I love the "backward" rotation. Keep 'em comin'.
Great pics and vid Jimmy - it looks like the storm turned left quite hard as it approached you - for a time it seemed like passing you by, but there's a great correlation between it visually "cranking up" and turning towards you. This type of thing gets me through the winter, and looking ahead to May 14th!
Very nice stuff Jimmy! That storm certainly was spinning! I especially enjoyed the timelapse. Consider yourself lucky for getting to chase at least two different seasons regularly :p
Nice photos and video there. :D Just trying to put names on here to user names on Weatherzone I think your username there is hail? (P.K. is mine on there).
Glad you all enjoyed the video and pictures. Thanks for the comments and ideas in regards to storm behaviour. I certainly cannot wait until US season (funds permitting).

(Yes my name is Hail on Weatherzone forum Peter Kirk)


Jimmy Deguara