Waterspout Pictures - NSW, Australia

Mar 19, 2004
Mt Warrigal, NSW, Australia
Don't get too excited as I was a little way inland trying desparately to get to the coast.

On the 5th september we had a day with a nice cold pool of air in the middle to upper atmosphere. This triggered many small storms with copious, but small hail.

The full story is here


The previous day had a nice lightning show


Nice chase report, although looking at those synoptic charts from Australia is enough to give any northern hemisphere meteorologist a headache.
Thanks for your lovely replies.

Dave - good pickup about the glaciation - there are three factors, the first is that August - September is the same as your Februaury - March. Therefore storms are mostly weak. Secondly the setups here that favour lightning over the ocean usually involve cold pools in the middle levels that move offshore over the warm currents. Therefore glaciation at 500-400mb is not unusual as the updraft strength is simply not there. Thirdly 3 min exposures tend to take a lot of detail out.

AAACK! I always miss the vaguely tornado-related events. But it was a pretty awesome light show on the 4th — funny how all the bolts (almost all the ones I saw, anyway) seemed to be very horizontally-inclined, though, wasn't it?
Nice pics Michael,

That event conincided with a cut off low with cold air aloft. That explained the glaciated anvils observation. This event also dumped hail in Sydney!

Check out:


On the 19th September, there were was another outbreak of storms. The following is a view of a storm I chased briefly:

[Broken External Image]:http://www.australiasevereweather.com/temp/20040919/clip0000.jpg
[Broken External Image]:http://www.australiasevereweather.com/temp/20040919/clip0013.jpg


Jimmy Deguara
James...great site, those are some amazing pictures.

Is Australia's severe weather season in the spring? I don't know if you have a "tornado alley" but where is the hot spot for severe weather in Australia?
Hi Bill,

Well our severe weather season is not as defined as what yours is in the US. Generally the season starts Sep - Oct and runs through to Mar-Apr. In terms of severe set ups I have always found October November and December to be excellent so theoretically you could say that mid to late spring is the best time however January through to March can put out some excellent severe storms.

During our Winter months areas including Victoria and SW Western Australia get a good Tornado season. These tornadoes are generally associated with "Coldies" or Cold Air Storms from May to August.

In terms of Hot spots and having an Alley , unfortunately we dont have an Alley area over here however a great hot spot for severe storms is in NE NSW and SE QLD.
Everybody thinks severe weather in the US is in the alley in May. And yes, it is. But it is spread out just like Australia. During the winter months the southeastern states see a lot of severe weather. During spring the action shifts to the plains. In summer it is really everywhere. The plains continue to see storms while the east coast and the intermountain region have increased risks.

Plus we've got hurricane season. Which, this year has proven to quite active.
Plus we've got hurricane season. Which, this year has proven to quite active.

We used to have a Coral Sea Tropical Cyclone season, but in the past two decades it has been very ordinary. Some people will argue this point saying that you only remember the good seasons from the past. Mind you in 1980's it was not uncommon to say " we don't get the hot summers that I used to remember as a kid", and the same argument was put up - you ony remember the hot days. Well that all changed in the late 1990's and 2000's with several " we haven't had hot summers like this for many years". So therefore I am sticking to my poor cyclone assessment of the last two decades.

Meanwhile a trip to Northern Argentina this weekend should be a worthy chase, I only I had unlimited funds, time and a base spanish speaking ability.

I may post something in the forecast area if the models hold.

Thanks for the comments re photograph. I very much doubt it is a supercell though it was trying nevertheless. Hail to 3cm was reported from the storm.

From my experience as James Harris suggests, the severe storms tend to occur any time but more frequently in November to December. I am not much of a fan of October for good storms but it is usually on the increase.

As to tornadoes, the "coldies" that occur in south western Australia are similar to the cold weather low topped storms that spawn winter tornadoes in the US - but the frequency varies - usually these occur with the passage of a strong cold front. As to warm weather meaty supercells and tornadoes, quite rare here. Definitely don't come to Australia with a tornado in mind. If you get one it is a bonus.

Hailstorms on the other hand though less frequent than what is experienced in the US are not rare events. James is correct in suggesting northeastern NSW and southeast Qld have the HP supercells with very large hail events. The region of NSW given the infeed of moisture and upper level support has a greater probablity in producing strong tornadoes than other parts of the country. BUt as often is the case, often a crucial ingredient is missing - usually the lower level wind shear. Forget about the 40 knot plus winds - we rarely get above 10 to 15 knots unless you have a seabreeze (not the most ideal warm air wource).

Some more waterspout pictures:



http://www.australiasevereweather.com/stor...news/index.html more of recent events.


Jimmy Deguara