Saturday 4th of November
Chase Duration: 16 hours
Chase Distance: 800km
Report By: David Findlay
Other Chaser's Reports:
Weatherzone Briefing Room Thread
Weatherzone Breaking Weather Thread
On Saturday after a large rain band cleared, storms developed on the eastern Darling Downs. I chased from Redcliffe out to Kingaroy then south to the vicinity of Dalby, then back. The early part of the day was plagued with low cloud, and chasers who to the south or on the coast had to wait till late in the day to get clear views. I broke out of the low cloud shortly before reaching Kingaroy, so I had a clear view everywhere.
I didn't decide to chase till the morning. It appeared that the cloud and rain band was clearing from the north west. Anthony Cornelius and Dave Sercombe were heading to Toowoomba. I decided to head to Kingaroy, hoping to clear the cloud then decide where to go from there. I departed about 9:30, heading up via Caboolture and Kilcoy. By the time I reached Kilcoy the rainbands were starting to break up. Some strong updrafts were visible. A large band of Cu's was ahead of me and dropping lots of rain. Despite the strong updrafts I decided to continue onwards to Kingaroy. Around Nanango it started to break up and I was out in the clear at Kingaroy.
I had lunch just south of Kingaroy and watched cells developing in a line to my south west. It seemed that they were moving south rapidly and several were quite rapidly building into large towers. I decided to head south towards Dalby. Just north of the Bunya Mountains I received an SMS report from Anthony Cornelius and Dave Sercombe nearby Dalby. They had also seen strong updrafts but had a lot of low cloud around. Just south of the Bunya mountains I decided to head towards the west, where a few cells were looking quite good. I turned along a road towards Jandowae. The cells were looking fairly nice, but had no visible signs of severity at this stage. There was one particularly nice one to the south, so I turned along a dirt road to the south to get in front of it. I eventually arrived at Macalister and took photos of the cell just to my west which had a large anvil with mammatus. The rain curtain wasn't all that thick though. Couldn't really see that much detail of it. To my south east another cell had a large wedge shaped updraft towards the south.
From Macalister I headed for Dalby, but the cell with the mammatus had by this stage weakened. On a road I took to shortcut around Dalby I met up with Michael Bath and Rodney Wallbridge who were also photographing the same cell. I decided to head north towards Jandowae again to get a view of the next cell along the line. Anthony Cornelius and Dave Sercombe had already headed that way. North of Jimbour the cell became visible with a weak microburst and some scud cloud. Anthony Cornelius SMS'd that he had a gust front visible from Jandowae. I took some photos of it as well from just south of Jandowae. They headed east to get ahead of another cell which was starting to evidence a gust front. I stayed just south of Jandowae to see if there was some other activity behind the cell. The winds as the gust front passed were only about 30-40km/h. I decided to head along east as well towards the Bunya mountains. Reaching the highway I headed a little way south and along a dirt road to get a good view towards Bell. I waited for the cell to pass me again.After the cell had passed the rainbow it formed was brilliant. Complete bright double rainbow like I've not seen for a long time. The light was really starting to turn bright golden now. I headed to just south of Bell and took some more photos of the line of cells heading east, before deciding to head north towards Kingaroy to catch another large impressive looking cell up that way. I was hoping to get some really nice views of sunset structure and I wasn't disappointed. Just passing the Bunya mountains I spotted two updrafts close together that were very strong but not all that high. I think the shear was bending them over. I decided to stop on a hill just south of Kumbia and wait for the sunset as the updrafts and anvils looked incredible.
Shortly after sunset I got underway again. I was hoping to skip in front of the line and beat it to the coast so I could get some lightning shots. I could have gone north via Goomeri, Kilkivan and Gympie, but I decided to go south. The cells to the north had a lot of rain in the back, so although I could see some flashes I couldn't see many CG's. Rather than going via Kingaroy I thought I might be able to make a shortcut from Kumbia across to Nanango. I must have missed a turnoff though because I ended up back in Kingaroy via Stuart Valley. However in the Stuart Valley I encounted very large hail drifts and masses of hail fog. It was really quite amazing. I grabbed some more fuel and food at Kingaroy and headed down via Nanango, Blackbutt and Kilcoy. From Kilcoy I took the road to Beerwah then onto the Bruce Highway. However by this time the cells near Gympie had started to die down and lightning was becoming more infrequent. At Eumundi I decided to turn around and head home after a trip to the carwash to get all the mud off. Overall it was an exciting and enjoyable chase, and was interesting as always to run into other chasers out there!