Driving home from work, it became obvious from the large 15km long bolts
jumping from the top of the seemingly innocent blur of clouds to the SE, that
the night was sure to be a fun one. Phones started ringing and beeping
with "HOLY SH** CAN U SEE THAT F**KER TO THE STH E?" etc. A quick meet
up was planned at fisherman's wharf (the non-restaurant wharf) without
further ado. Taking the Laptops down, the scanner and the GPRS enabled
mobile, we were able to establish what was to be an impressive line extending
at least 100km long forming rapidly and advancing to the WNW. Lightning
rates were quick ethereal and a few of us sat in awe watching the monster
bolts jumping out of the billowing cells. Checking radar and
seeing the odd splotch of red, and seeing the sounding from the day (40 knot
upper level winds, 25-30 knot steering and nice convergence) it was indeed
possible that the squall line that had developed and intensified in such a
short time, might actually be severe. Sure enough "Beeep" ASWA's SMS
warning service delivered a warning aimed specifically at Bynoe Harbour, a
severe storm hotspot just to the West of the city.
Sure enough, the cells arrived around 30 mins after the shots above were
taken. The gust front raced across the harbour at around 50km/hr picking up
wind and turning the perfectly still glassy harbour into a surf fest.
Listening to the scanner, Virgin Blue pilot stated that turbulence on descent
was "moderate to severe".. given this information from a professional Boeing
pilot, we were vibed up and awaiting the best of the storm. Though the
storm did drop the usual Darwin 'neighbourhood lightning bolts' (strikes
within a few hundred metres or less) it didnt produce much in the way of wind
locally. The gusts only reached about 45km/hr and some severe wind
gusts registered on AWS's outside of the CBD. All in all the best of
the cells actually met to the West as expected by the BOM.
Tired and suffering a Darwin FlickerFest epileptic burnout, it was time to
head home and prepare for work on the morrow.. and also prepare for the
somewhat likely event of 'no sleep' from more cells exploding and cruising on
in to the city...