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Storm cell zeros in on Canberra

By Gungahlin Al - 28 February 2007 84

[First filed: February 27, 2007 @ 23:06]


Well the storm pictures have been so wildly popular they’re wreaking havoc on our server and internet connection. A big hello to all the new readers.

If all you want to do is see pretty storm pictures then here’s a slideshow for you and youtube can cover the costs (now updated with our full set of pics and a sound track courtesy of The Lavans):

(incidentally version 1.0 of this video was so wildly successful that it picked up the following honours on YouTube:
#52 – Most Viewed (Today) – News & Politics – All
#58 – Top Favorites (Today) – News & Politics – All
#19 – Most Linked (Today) – News & Politics – All)

Details on the provenance of the pictures below:

[ED – FYI the SMH is now on the story apparently it was a “supercell thunderstorm”, and now here’s how the story involved from 11.06 pm 27-FEB-07]

I can’t find one of those fabled alerts anywhere logical like the SES, Canberra Connect, ACT Govt, ABC local or similar websites, but the BOM is warning this one could be bad, and from the look of the radar shot – a big black blotch right over Canberra – someone’s going to cop it.

The lighnting show is something else – bursts at least every second – never seen such rapid fire lightning…

Watching the radar over the last hour, this cell just appeared out of nowhere just south of Hall.

[ED – used a slightly more recent image than the one Al sent in. One hell of a storm and a caution against relying on the warning system for something as unreliable as storms in the mountains]

UPDATED: And pictures!

If you missed them, these ones are doing the email rounds, please don’t send them to me again, much as i appreciated the two dozen large sets of pictures I’ve had (if the photographer would like a credit, please get in touch):

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84 Responses to
Storm cell zeros in on Canberra
Growling Ferret 8:26 am 28 Feb 07

We were playing softball at Hawker when the lightning starting about 8:30 or so, generally lighting up the sky to the south. It seemed a long way away until the light in the carpark 30 metres away was struck – I have never seen 20 blokes get the hell under cover so quickly… You could smell the ozone, and everyones hair was standing on end – pretty impressive really…

Danman 7:50 am 28 Feb 07

Yeah from my deck you have 270 degree views from left of Mt Majura to Black Mountain on the far right – usually a good vantage point for lightning viewing.

All I have to show for last nights storm is a bloody sore neck from a lightning blast at about 1030 that took me from several layers of sleep to a very heightened state of awareness in a nanosecond and in doing so has written off my neck for a few days.

Im a Gittin old heh

Ralph 7:40 am 28 Feb 07

Dan it was quite spectacular from Gungahlin, a good view of the storm cell and lightning, but no rain.

It built up over Belconnen for at least an hour, and was rotating.

Danman 7:15 am 28 Feb 07

Just walked in from Haig Park to Civic – looks like a cyclone went through – hail still banked up on walls – the art shops garage got flooded – hail and foilage damage everywhere – must have thrown it down – I was woken by a loud clap at about 11pm in Gunghalin – but thats all I knew – wish I knew about the frequency of the lightning – I would have been keen to snap off a few memory cards.

Ingeegoodbee 6:50 am 28 Feb 07

We got some seriously heavy rain and a kick arse light shown down in Kambah. I cant recall such high frequency lightening. I once spent a night in a fire tower down near the NSW/Vic border and we watched 600-odd lightening strikes over a couple of hours but last night seemed like a constant assault.

Al 6:49 am 28 Feb 07

There is a guy from the Bushfire CRC who is interviewing people around Canberra about how to improve emergency warnings so the message gets through. I was interested to see if the BOM warning was reflected anywhere else, for those not watching TV or listening to the radio.
The SES website had this statement:

“How will I find out a warning has been issued?

The ACT Emergency Services Agency will advise the Canberra community of warnings in a number of ways.
– Through the following local Canberra media outlets:
FM 104.7 Mix 106.3 1206 2CC 1053 2CA ABC 666
– Through Canberra Connect on 13 22 81
– Through this website

Neither “this website” or Canberra Connect had any warnings last night. I guess the following qualifier on the SES site covers off any events so inconvenient as to occur at night time:

“What will happen if a warning is issued out of normal business hours?
“The ACT Emergency Services Agency has arrangements in place with the media outlets listed above to ensure emergency warnings are broadcast at any time of the day or night 365 days a year.”

Meconium 1:46 am 28 Feb 07

My girlfriend and I were watching Letters from Iwo Jima in Cinema 1 of Dendy, the 9.30 session. At about a quarter to eleven the sound of rain started to drown out the gunfire, and on the hour the roof sprung a few leaks. It was pouring out of a few places along the midline of the cinema, and soon staff started rushing in with buckets and the film was stopped.

Everyone was told to stay in the building, at first, due to the huge hailstorm, but after ten minutes or so we were told to gtfo. As far as I know it was raining inside every cinema, including the two premium lounge cinemas. Everyone was told that if they present their stub, they would get one complimentary admission. I see an exploitable situation here…

Outside, the ice was piled up and people unfamiliar with these road conditions were driving like idiots. I’m not surprised there were lots of accidents tonight. The hail seemed to end as close as Lonsdale St to the north, and maybe as far as the Uni in the west.

Al Gore was right.

J Dawg 12:27 am 28 Feb 07

We were in Civic when the first drops appeared there. By the time we got to the ANU, it was torrential, couldn’t see for more then, say, 20-30m. We took shelter in the ANU, under the roof of the entrance to ANU Tech. It turned out that where Daley Road and North Road meet (100m into the ANU from Barry Drive) was about a meter deep in water.

3 cars ended up getting stuck in the water, the roads were icy, generally a crap place to be. The fire brigade turned up and told the people to get out of their stuck cars, then they left. So my sister and me, and a few other people, directed all the cars away from there until the police showed up after 25mins or so (and about 2mins after we called).

The police (or whoever answers their phones) told us that there were over 50 reports of cars crashed or stuck in a flood on Parks Way alone.

liz 12:12 am 28 Feb 07

Chifley just had an amazing light show from about 8.30 to 12. The last of the lightning bursting out against the clear sky just before 12 was beautiful.

tommy 12:10 am 28 Feb 07

we got flooded here in Campbell – over 25ml of rain/hail (overflowed the guage in 20 mins)

adeptacheese 11:42 pm 27 Feb 07

my windows was open and my bed got wet 🙁

szeretetta 11:40 pm 27 Feb 07

Piles of rain and hail here in Macquarie. It got very noisy for about 20 minutes, and a hell of a lot of rain came down.

grundy 11:25 pm 27 Feb 07

This is the hail that hit my house, and I was just on the edge of the storm in north O’Connor. Flooded the garage!

DavidM 11:23 pm 27 Feb 07

We’re in Reid, and there is a carpet of ice on the ground, banked up against our balcony door, and on the roof opposite. It was very intense, very loud, and now there’s clear sky and lightning vanishing out to the east.

I checked the BOM site, and there was a warning issued at 9.01 for severe hail … and then a cancellation of that warning issued at 9.09pm. Odd.

b2 11:19 pm 27 Feb 07

just passed over ainslie with some pretty big hailstones, will send the pic to johnboy. but seems like nothing else is happening here for now.

the lightning was pretty incredible!

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