Michael Thompson's Australian Storm Chase Diary
Thunder Downunder 2005 - Day 7, 1st December 2005
Wondai to Crows Nest, QLD

All photos clickable for larger size

Not much separates dry from torrential rain here. By now we had taken to flippant naming our storms for after the towns affected - we called this the 'Hivesville Horror', yes there is a town called Hivesville.

This storm is probably weak, despite first appearances, look closer and everything looks rather thin and fibrous - near Murgon looking north.

Today was the least amount if kilometres we would do of any day. We were hoping to venture further west into better chasing countryside as the day went on, but moisture steadfastly refused to go west of the divide. We must of confused a local or two in Wondai and Murgon as we did three visits to both towns today.

The first cell we had a look at was west of Murgon near Hivesville, we tracked this small cell back to Wondai ( our start point for the day ) were it fell apart. A better looking storm soon formed north of Murgon again. This time from our vantage point north of Murgon we encountered a severe storm moving SE along the valley ( see first picture above ). We encountered strong microburst winds, torrential rain and small hail. Clyve Herbert shot some video of the microburst that shows very unusual swirling of the rain just metres in front of the car. We tracked this storm back to Wondai..again, before it went into inaccessible country.

Whilst fueling up both car and body at Wondai another storm caught our attention to the north, perhaps in the Gayndah area. We headed back to Murgon and onwards. The storm we were interested in, guess what ? moved over the coastal ranges into poor chasing country, so we stopped and watched a small cell develop just east of our road ( half way between Mugon and Gayndah ). It was a very weak pulse that only had a rumble or two, but provided some nice contrasting pictures.

Weak cell over ranges south of Gayndah.

Has anybody seen my lens cap?

We decided to head SE as it appeared that moisture was not being transported west of the divide. We struck two storms that late afternoon, both were severe, yet both were rather unphotogenic. Near the small town of Goomeri we watched a small, but persistent wallcloud for over 30 minutes. The sky was filled with rubbish cloud, masking a rather impressive anvil, that we only got brief glimpses of. This storm gave some minor flash flooding to the town of Goomeri. In our flippant storm naming mood we called this storm the 'Goomeri Gusher'.

We proceeded towards Toowoomba where we had targeted for the night. Just north of Nanango we encountered a very long training line of multicell storms, although some embedded cells had a HP look about them. These storms in poor light made poor photos that again did not do justice to the storm's severity. This storm we christened the 'North Nanango Nasty'.

This storm is far more severe than indicated by the picture.

Farmer King contemplates the first thunderstorm of the day, before ploughing the field.

We went through the Nanango line of multicells to see some minor flash flooding of creeks. We stayed the night at Crows Nest, a small town just north of Toowoomba. During the evening, lightning could be at last seen far to the west, we later learnt that a large area of nocturnal storms had broken out on the plains causing road closures due to flash flooding.