Tuesday, 20 March 2007




From: Lower Hunter, Written by: Grant Burgess




A very foggy morning broke around 0800 for a very warm humid day with temps near 35°C & dew-points near 20°C for much of the day. Was at uni all day so unfortunately little chance to keep an eye on the weather. No camera for that matter either!

On walking to my 1700 physics lecture I noticed some possibly thick Cb's (Cumulonimbus clouds) to the NE (not a great view though). Further on I noticed some dark stuff to the S. A quick detour (about-face...lol) to the library for a radar update only showed some light/moderate stuff heading toward
Lake Macquarie (to the S of me). Went to investigate a little further - still no great view but could make out a weak gust front to the S or SW.

Around 1725 could hear torrential rain falling outside. Finished lecture at 1740 with still heavy rain falling, distant thunder seemed to be about also. At car around 1750 & on the road shortly after.

On the drive between the Uni (Callaghan) & Shortland I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Observed many clear air CGs to the E (where I was headed) along with what looked like a large meso structure & possible wall-cloud. In hindsight I can't be exactly sure if that is what it was or whether it was just an impressive guster - was moving at a rate of knots whatever it was! Can't clarify due to what looks like 2 separate cells (one heading NE, the other E) on radar colliding about the same time I went through.

Within 5mins (around 1755) I was amongst the CGs, the lowering previously observed had lowered much further & had a well rounded look to it. Turning N onto
Maitland Rd (Old Pacific Hwy), things started turning green! Also noticed a possible gust front stretching way off to the NW. A normal leisurely drive home had inadvertently turned into a core punch!

A little further up the road & I had lost sight of all structure (hidden by rain). Just before Hexham Maccas the drops got bigger so I headed into the car park to wait it out. Soon after small hail began falling so I headed for shelter at the Shell servo next door. I thought there was a back way into it from Maccas but couldn't find one!

By 1800 I was partly under shelter with stones around 2cm hammering down. Visibility was under 50m, winds gusting near 60km/h & it was a flangfest. Incredibly this didn't stop several people at the servo filling up! Stayed around 20mins until the hail had well & truly gone & rain eased somewhat.

Not 3mins down the road & rain was again torrential with surface water across the road. Stopped again for about 15mins (took 10 just to get back into the line of traffic).

Between Hexham Bowling Club (Ossie the Mossie) & the Hexham bridge was incredible. South bound lanes were literally under water! Much of the way I could clearly see the level of the water covering grassed areas 2m or so off the road. Doesn't sound much but when you consider the gutters there are 8-10" high, then the water would have easily been 12" (1 foot) deep. The largest continuous piece of water I think would have been 2-300m long.

Heavy rain continued for much of the drive home until only around 3km or so from home & all was relatively dry! Around this time as well I was buffeted by strong SSE winds.

Incredible storm, winds gusted near 60km/h, 2cm hail (maybe larger – ‘hunter’ on the Weatherzone forum in Breaking Weather mentioned 3-4cm stones around Hexham which I didn't see personally but am not too surprised about). Rain totals possibly over 2" (50mm) in 30mins & a flangfest!