Had another great little chase into the Wheatbelt yesterday. I could see cumulus towers popping up out towards Northam, so I headed to a great spot that I like near Meckering that has good views to the east. It was a hot day (37°C+) and the flies were out in swarms. This is not unusual for this time of the year in Australia, but it takes some getting used to when you have lived in the city for a few years.
It was immediately clear that this setup was going to produce something spectacular, but I wasn’t quite expecting it to be this good.
There was a line of storms popping up that stretched from the northwest to the southeast (left to right in the following pano).
As impressive as the main cell in front of me was, it was the small cell to the right that caught my attention. It shot up rapidly and within an hour had become one of the most spectacular anvils I have ever seen. The following sequence of photos highlights the growth of this cell.
At this point, I made the call to move further east towards Cunderdin to follow this cell in the hope that it might become lightning active after sunset. By then, it had grown into a very large thunderstorm and the setting sun lit up the top in an impressive display of color.
There was a fair bit of lighting in this cell, but by now it was moving away to the SE and I didn’t really plan to follow it that far.
Behind me, another thunderstorm was making its way south and this one was very lightning active, but the rain and dust obscured most of it. I did manage to get a shot of some mammatus that had formed.
As darkness fell (and a gazillion mosquitoes came out) I decided to head back to the Great Eastern Highway to find a better location to try and capture some lighting shots. I finally found a spot just west of Cunderdin and set up the camera. The decaying storm that was approaching still had plenty of energy and the gust front pushing out in front of it made it hard to keep the camera and tripod steady. Even so, I managed a few photos as the storm headed my way.
Even though this chase was only a few hours long (380km round trip) I really enjoyed it. The cloud structures I saw were truly amazing. So here is one more of that anvil.