Storm chasing Mildura

Storm chasing Mildura and being cut off by heavy rain and hail.

It’s not often we get a chance to go chase a storm. Mostly because if your are a photographer you have lots of advanced bookings. the other reason, we don’t get a lot of storms to chase hear in Mildura. Probably a good thing… But I digress.

Last Saturday while sitting at the computer trying to get work out….. The ever present twitter feed beside me started to tell a story of an approaching front. A front with all the hallmarks of being a photo opportunity in the making. Sadly as I watched the electrical activity started to drop away to the South. Disappointed that time wouldn’t allow me the opportunity to follow the front South. I continued working. Pausing for a moment to post a note on FaceBook to the effect that any photographers south of Mildura should get their butts into gear and get ready for a show.

Then as the afternoon progressed. I took a peek outside… The sky was amazing and there was a storm almost on us. To early but hell…. It was a storm. I drove to Wentworth, getting held up by some heavy rain and hail, which was a bit uncomfortable as I had pinched Robyn’s car….  Great little rig but not built for storm chasing, or heavy  hail. All worked out well. Except the photos…. BORING. On the drive home, past a couple of NSW Police, so pulled over for a chat and told them about a medium sized Red Gum, situated in a public park that was struggling to stay upright. Day over or so I thought.

Thunderstorm passes over vineyard.A second, much smaller storm began to develop later in the afternoon. It was touch and go as to whether I would stop work again to try and cut it off. You see my preferred angle for late afternoon thunderstorms is ahead of the storm and to the East if that is possible. After setting out it was soon apparent  mother nature had other ideas. Firstly the storm front was moving mach faster than I anticipated. Secondly there were not a lot of roads available to me. Even less as the storm flattened out and heavy rain began pouring down. Followed a few minutes later by a barrage of medium sized hail stones. It was pull over and ride it out time. At least this time I was in the old Troopy, so no fear of getting Robyn’s car all dented.

As with most thunderstorms the rain and hail stopped almost as quickly as it had started. Two things became apparent almost immediately. There was much more ice laying around than I had expected and the air was filled with the distinctive aroma of shredded vine leaves. Not unlike the smell you get just after a mechanical harvester has past over a patch of vines. Thing is of course it wasn’t harvest time!

Hail damage vineyardI was able to take a few photos of the damaged vines and hail laying around before the storm moved off and I once again gave chase. Still hoping that I may get a shot worth keeping. As it turned out I manage to get one keeper. Not the amazing shot that all photographers strive for, each and every time they pick up a camera. Until next time however, it will do.
Thunderstorm NE of Mildura Storm chasing Mildura.

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