Trentham Stormchasers

TopEndDownUnder 2011

Report: Clyve Herbert

Photography: Jane ONeill / Clyve Herbert

25 November 2011

A double story house is near 7.5 metres !, On our second day in Darwin we head for Nightcliff, a pretty coastal suburb northeast of the CBD, here we occasionally plonk and watch convection on the distant Tiwi Islands (Hector) but today there's no Hector ...and no sea either!, the tide has gone out and as we discover its one of the lowest tides for the year at near 0.2m, the high tide is expected around 6pm at 7.8 metres...hence the reference to a double story house.

The best time to view storms in Darwin occurs when the sky is clear and the ground heating becomes intense usually by late afternoon large build ups appear then develop into big bloody bludgeoning towers that can reach up to 50.000 feet in just 30 or 40 minutes. After our Nightcliff visit, we head for Fogg Dam about 60klm east of Darwin as the crow flies, this is another interesting area with a large population of birds of all kinds and most species found in the top end can be seen here, not to mention the reptiles...and hordes of pesky flies. We sit at Fogg Dam most of the afternoon watching storms gradually build, but today things are slow mainly due to a surge of drier interior air from the inland. We wonder about photographing wildlife then contemplate a sign that says do not walk here ..because of crocodiles !....and there under a tree basking in the sun and half hidden by green water was a 4 foot freshwater croc. With storms developing late we head back to Darwin for a quick tea before the late evening action starts, a stupendous updraft moves over the northern suburbs with a brilliant salmon pink refracted light showing up the cascading rain, the storm moves offshore and sends out a very pretty gust front...

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Looking for Hector!

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Tide's out!!

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Brief funel under a strong cumulus, Fogg Dam

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Black kite on the hunt

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Anyone for a walk?

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Sneaky freshwater croc (under the tree in the previous pic)

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Second funnel under a Cu

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Crimson finches hunting grass seed

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Black kite closing in on his prey....

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Gotcha!!  Black kite scores a small fish from the shallows, Fogg Dam

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Tropical shower, Fogg Dam

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Tide's in!! Nightcliff

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Breakwater inundated

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Stupendous updraft approaches Darwin's northern suburbs

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Curing gust front develops

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Gust front features

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We were stunned by the salmon pink of the setting sun mixing with the rain shaft

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Stay tuned for tomorrow's episode...

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