This chase was a very quick one for me, it happened to develop right on evening only an hour and a half before I had to start work. If it had’ve developed just an hour or two earlier it would’ve made this chase so much better in my case, once again I was cringing at the timing of the southerly that came through and the fact I had to get to work. (I actually don’t mind my job but when storms come along I cringe! lol)
I could see potential on this day a few days leading up to it on weather models but it wasn’t clear cut, I was concerned about a pre frontal northwesterly airflow that was drying out the atmosphere before the change arrived. Kudos to Metservice for forecasting this one, they did a great job. A northwesterly did blow for most of the day and the air was dry but interestingly a pre frontal southerly shall we say developed about an hour before these storms moved through, the dewpoint shot up and then these storms moved through on a stronger southerly change. Not a situation I see to much here in Canterbury, normally once a southerly has come through you would expect storms on that front or the chances are over and you go home. Yes you can get storms on a trough after a southwesterly front has gone through but I’d normally expect a break in the weather before that would happen. So it was interesting but with the data available now through real time radar you could see what was happening and keep up with it.
I was hesitant to go too far from Christchurch because of the fact I had work, if I had of had my way I would’ve chase this storm from Mayfield through to Oxford. Large hail fell in Temuka on this day reported to be up to golf ball size, there is a story on stuff.co.nz here. Funny looking golf balls, the stones were definitely large but oddly shaped. People commonly say golf balls in reference to hail size but perhaps they were slightly smaller, who knows. So onto my chase story! I went just south of the Templeton area around 6.30pm and took some photos, I could see the thunderstorm line to the south was still a we way away on radar and I was unsure how quickly it would move north. I headed south anyway and got to about Burnham then took another look at the radar and saw the storm was moving inland, so made a beeline for Kirwee / Darfield.
Once west of Burnham I could see a line appear in the distance so I kept heading west. The radio was going berserk with plenty of scferics so things were exciting, but the time was 6.55pm. I had one hour and 5 minutes before work! Once in Kirwee I shot off the west coast road and onto a shingle road. I started seeing flashes coming from this line so began to film, got a few Cg’s on camera! I got to a spot around the intersection of Tramway and Boultons Road and set up for all of the 10 minutes that I was there, had no time really to think about composition or anything to add to a better photograph as it was also the first time I tried this snazzy lightning trigger I got given to me by Steven Graham, one of the first lightning bolts that struck out infront didn’t trigger the device and I got briefly frustrated so took of a shield around the sensor that was to help stop triggering the camera every time even the faintest flash went off. Unfortunately I think the shield made it much to directional. The thunder after that first flash was really loud as some lightning went off overhead aswell and gave me a bit of a fright I’ll tell ya! You can see in the video below. Overall I managed to get a few shots of day time lightning which is a first for me, nothing special but it’s something and my first go at using this device. Once it got to 7.30pm I had to go and head to work, luckily I packed my uniform in the car incase this would happen so I just headed strait for work. What a pain in the a$# having to leave a thunderstorm like that!! Oh well, gotta earn some money to get a better camera right?
Apologies about the swearing in the video below, I’ve “beeped” those parts out. I’m not normally like that but with all the excitement, it causes these situations.