Storm Chase

Getting away from the office is often a challenge in itself as there always is another job to do but on this day I did get away early. Nothing was really showing on the radar but I thought Adelaide River was a good target area so headed south. Driving as far as Hayes Creek I saw nothing of note until some interesting reflections started to appear on the weather radar to my east. I was completely out of position and decided to head north again and try and get east to cut off the approaching storm.

Storm Chase

Passing Adelaide River again I headed down the Marrakai Track, a short cut to Corroborree. The only gamble was that Adelaide River was going to be passable otherwise I would miss the storm. Thankfully the river was only at 0.5m and I continued up towards the Arnhem highway. Approaching the Highway the sun had started to dip and some nice colour was starting to appear on the cloud formation to my east. Pushing on I found an area that would allow me to capture a shot or two.

I was hoping the storm would keep moving towards me as I had a great location but unfortunately it held its ground. I caught a few captures of lightning exploding out the sides of the storm cell but nothing of spectacular note. Whilst the lightning show was incredible and extremely active - it was too far away and I left feeling disappointed at not making better of the opportunity that had presented itself.

At this stage a mate had joined me and it was decision time as to where we should head next. After examining the weather radar it was decided to head back to Darwin and one of the towers overlooking Frances Bay and Darwin Harbour.

We could see the storm rejuvenate itself and move towards Darwin but did not expect the show we were about to witness. A few distant cracks of lightning showed us an increase in intensity and wind velocity. We took shelter behind a pole to protect the cameras from the wind and random spray to capture something special of an extremely active and powerful storm.


Storm Chase

The lightning started on the other side of the harbour and moved towards us. I saw it cracking into the water just off Fisherman’s wharf (a couple were caught on camera). It kept coming and lightning started cracking all round with blinding flashes that left stars in our eyes and hairs on end. (Luckily we had protection over our heads.) Then a simultaneous crack, sizzle and bang was heard and sparks flew off a building just to our right as a triple bolt came down the mast on top of the building. Incredible power, hairs standing on end and adrenaline pumping, I had my camera pointed in the right direction with the settings correct - and captured a truly powerful bolt. Whilst not a truly usable image it is a great recording of the event.

Storm Chase

After that bolt the wind really picked up, driving the rain in horizontally and the camera was finally put away as we took shelter inside. The chase had taken us 400km south and east of Darwin ending back in Darwin city 12 hours later. Attached are some of the images from the chase. Enjoy – I did.