1st March 2005

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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...

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