Nelson Lakes thunderstorms

Time: 2:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Location: Nelson, New Zealand

Things were getting serious with hardly any thunderstorm opportunities in Canterbury, we would have to start looking further afield to feed our hunger.

A slack pressure gradient was sitting over the South Island, looking at weather models inland areas of the upper South Island showed promise with good low level moisture and convergence. Warm afternoon temperatures would turn the atmosphere unstable. A brief summary of this day to us was that we didn’t encounter any storms, they were a little further to the east from our position between Springs Junction and Murchison in an area where the roading network is not very good so it made it hard going to get any storms really. It was still a fun day out though with friends seeing the sights. Got some nice photographs to so thought I’d put something up to keep the content flowing on this site.

On this trip we had Steve, Jason Tippet, Mike Stewart and myself. We left Christchurch around 11am heading north, our aim to get to Springs Junction then go further north if things looked good. Conditions were nice and warm once we got to Springs Junction about 2pm and cumulus clouds appeared over the hills.

While interesting we headed further north to Murchison and down the Matakitaki valley, we saw a nice looking cloud brew up and get big but it moved to the east where we couldn’t get to. While there we found this neat little power station called “Six Mile”. Didn’t know this place existed but it is a hydro electric power station that was opened in 1922 and kept running all the way through to 1975, neat little place and just shows what you can discover if you get out there.

It was now nearing 5.30pm so we started to head back, on the way clouds looked good around Maruia so we stopped for a while and I took some further photographs of cumulus congestus over the hills.

We started to head back to Christchurch around 7pm, we should’ve hung around atleast an hour longer as these clouds going by radar and satellite pictures look to of grown bigger and pushed into this area. Whether there was any lightning I’m not sure of, the weatherzone lightning overlay didn’t show anything in this area around 8pm. It won’t pick up everything so if anything did happen it would’ve been quite limited perhaps. I’m a little perplexed as to why we had left, after the long day maybe we were all ready to go? I think if I was sitting there by myself I would’ve been content to just sit back and relax while the evening wore on, I might do that next time provided I don’t have other commitments. It was cheaper going as a group though even I’ll admit, $25 each for the return trip. Good value for a day out sight seeing, who knows…. maybe next time we’ll actually get some storms??

Weather Maps

0000z 7/1/2012
0600z 7/1/2012
1200z 7/1/2012