The Weather’s Getting Weirder

Canberra’s week of bizarre tropical weather, with thunderstorms every night for a week and green grass threatening to erupt even on our front dirt patch, reached its climax tonight with a hail storm of epic proportions. Back in 2005 I posted some pictures of a weird hail storm here in Canberra. Tonight’s effort beats that one hands down, if not in the intricacy of the shaping of the stones, then definitely in its ferocity and duration and the volume of material that was left behind.

Hail stones

It began unassumingly enough with an electrical storm, spectacular in its way, but after a week of such, nothing to get excited about. Huge clouds loomed from the west with sheet lightning illuminating them at rapid intervals. Then the first stones bounced off the roof, pea-sized at first, growing to macadamia nut-size as well as strange conglomerations such as that below.

The weather system, as viewed by the Bureau of Meteorology radar, has the look of a freak storm about it. As it approached, a noise akin to the approach of a runaway freight train, the combination of hail stones on rooves, rain and huge winds, could be heard coming from the direction of Civic.

The hail intensified, accompanied by more and more rain, until it was a thundering deluge such as I can barely remember, a real tropical-style dump of at least an inch (I guess) that lasted for an hour or so.

We couldn’t resist a bit of a scamper at this stage, including a bit of a mad dash to move the cars to safety under trees. We got thoroughly soaked which is why Alison (at left below) is wearing my girly blue flanelette pants (bought from an op-shop many years ago and not seeing much light of day since).

The hail started building up at the front step. In places it was about a foot deep. From the doorway we could hear the sound of a river flowing down the street. We were astounded to see the way the flowing water had carved away the ice in a perfect arc.

Later we realised a separate stream had been flowing down our driveway carrying a massive flow of ice and mud into the back yard. In places it was above the knee.

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