Storms in Melbourne

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Duckman
Stratus
Posts: 11
Joined: Tue Aug 14, 2012 9:27 pm
Location: Bonbeach

Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:04 pm

Hi All,

First time user and VERY amateur weather enthusiast....

I was just wondering what people's thoughts were on the probability of storms (whether severe or not) are likely to hit Victiria/Melbourne this season (summer/autumn).

Over the past few years (obviously due to the la nina effect), there have been significant events particularly in Melbourne over March 2010, Feb 2011 and Christmas Day 2011. All appear to have been subsequence of the "super cell".

How is Melbourne looking to be affected this coming season?

Cheers.
nafets
Supercell
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Location: Ascot vale

Thu Aug 16, 2012 1:19 pm

I'm an a ameture myself duckman, but I'm sure there will come a few days in the warmer weather where one area is primed for some ripper storms. It's impossible to predict now but one day will come!
Go the bombersss!
Jake Smethurst
Site Admin / Senior AWF Forecaster
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Location: Cheltenham

Fri Aug 17, 2012 2:33 pm

Hi, I will move this thread to the 'General Weather' section of the forum.

My opinion is that the thunderstorm season this year will be quite good. Despite predictions of an El Nino developing we are seeing very good signs of moisture availability already and also cold upper temperatures plus enhanced troughiness which is a good sign. I'll comment more later, as I have work now.
Jake - Senior AWF Forecaster
Feel free to send me a private message if you have any questions.
blackmamba
Cumulus
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Location: Narre Warren, Victoria.

Sat Aug 18, 2012 12:16 pm

Looking forward to hearing the explanation, Jake.
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droughtbreaker
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Sat Aug 18, 2012 5:58 pm

A stormy summer season is always a possibility regardless of what the ENSO situation is. The big difference will be that there will be less tropical moisture around. This is not to say we won't see some very humid days at times but it does mean that we won't see the kind of insane Brisbane style conditions we have had the last couple of years that was caused by the mega La Nina and warm ocean temps all around Aus as a result.

IMO this is actually better for storm enthusiasts as we will see more storms developing out of clear air. Scud and middle level cloud should not get in the way of afternoon heating and we should get some really good pulse storms with the occasional supercell over the state. These storms should be a lot less widespread though when they occur. Lightning will be less obscured by scud etc. and the storms will be fully visible and not as embedded as in previous seasons.
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Meso
Supercell
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Sat Aug 18, 2012 7:09 pm

Yeah, from the very little I've read on how la Nina/el Nino effects storms in Victoria it mostly points to more isolated type storms in el Nino years, which is good if u like structure, but probly not quite as severe as some of the events of the last few years.
Jake Smethurst
Site Admin / Senior AWF Forecaster
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Location: Cheltenham

Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:27 pm

Well Andrew pretty much covered my explanation fairly well, and he brings up a very valid point.

During La Nina years, we typically see more moisture than usual, thus resulting in more cloud and lower afternoon heating peaks. Overall, whilst thunderstorms tend to be more widespread, they aren't necessarily more frequent or less frequent, there are too many factors to consider when it comes to La Nina, the variables on the day must be right.

In El Nino, you can get just as many thunderstorms, if not more, affecting the state, but they are more likely to be less scattered compared to an La Nina year. With El Nino, you still get your large moisture plumes, typically clearer air ahead of systems thus allowing more peak heating and convection. Troughs during El Nino are very good as clear air is typical as I mentioned and depending on moisture levels, heating is usually enough to get pulse storms moving as Andrew mentioned at the very least.

I'd probably have to also state that there are many severe thunderstorms during El Nino as well. Damaging winds, large hail and supercells tend to be the more prominent outliers.

At the moment we are seeing quite a number of upper level troughs including the development of consecutive cut-off low pressure systems, and I'm thinking these will continue well into Spring despite the El Nino developing. So all in all, I am at least anticipating quite an active thunderstorm season. EDIT: And cold upper temperatures should be good heading into spring as well!
Jake - Senior AWF Forecaster
Feel free to send me a private message if you have any questions.
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stratospear
Supercell
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Location: Usually Bendigo

Sat Aug 18, 2012 8:54 pm

There are so many variables involved in storms and thus it's difficult to generalize too much. But from what I've seen, the most volatile period is during transitions from El Nino to La Nina. Modern examples include Jan 1995 (the Aussie Open flood), 2003 (Bendigo tornado in May & Eastern suburbs storms in Dec), late 2007, and March 2010. Another pattern is the prevalence of severe storms 18 months or so after a El Nino-La Nina transition if La Nina has lingered - Dec 1999, Nov 2004, & Dec 2011.

Even when a weak El Nino emerges in winter, incredibly severe storms can erupt in Oct/Nov. 1976 is a classic example.
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Meso
Supercell
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Sun Aug 19, 2012 12:44 am

Bendigo tornado is just another example of winter tornadoes in Victoria regardless of enso phase. There has been a few - Ballarat, Noble Park, Stawell, which I think are all simply the result of greater wind shear available during intense winter setups in Victoria. March 2010 imo was basically the official beginning of a historic La Nina in Victoria, so it's no surprise that event lead to some of the most memorable storms a lot of us will ever experience. But yeah, I guess you'd classify that period as a "transition phase". It was when we first started coming out of the drought and in to wetter conditions. Dec 2011 I wouldn't file under a transition phase though - in my view, that was the absolute peak of that La Nina.

It is no surprise that transition phases yield higher instances of severe weather. When you strip it all back, that's what every severe weather event is born out of - the collision of heat and cold...they just don't get along!
chrismorris
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Thu Oct 16, 2014 10:08 pm

Every year the government says that there won't be any storm in Melbourne but here in September there were again strong lashes of wind which caused a lot of damage to many houses. In case of storms stay safe on the roads or wherever you are.
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