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North Coast Storms: Thursday 20th to Friday 21st March 2003
Report compiled by Dave Ellem and Michael Bath

Thursday 20th March

With the trough still affecting the Hunter and Mid North Coast areas, most instability was concentrated S of the Northern Rivers, but it was expected to move through later in the day and storms were expected. The day started with congestus and Cbs offshore, and whilst near Ballina I spotted 4 waterspouts. Only one really got going, but it was exciting to see. Later that night a massive squall line affected the NW Slopes, Northern Tablelands, Mid North Coast and Western and Southern Parts of the Northern Rivers. On the southern end of the line a severe hailstorm affected the Central Coast - no reports on hail size, damage etc.

Friday 21st March

Today had high expectations with LIs down to -6 and Cape around 2000 in the Northern Rivers. What was thought to be a moderate cap was in fact just too strong and convection didn't start until very late (a thick cloud band not clearing till lunch time also limited heating). Weak cells developed from Dorrigo to Tenterfield, with a cell E of Tenterfield rapidly developing and producing a crisp, thick anvil. It maintained for around 30mins with a small precipitation core and development on it's NW flank, making it appear to head ENE. In hindsight we should have left to chase, but after producing a red core the cell weakened and we decided to stay home. But around 5.30pm it redeveloped, now just WSW of Casino. Rodney and I headed out and witnessed what appeared to be a hail shaft as the cell turned red on radar. However it weakened quickly down to one updraft with a wall cloud appearance attached to the thick anvil. It seems as though this cell was a true LP type storm and it gave some nice structure in it's final stages.


From Bureau of Meteorology

  • Grafton local scale loop 0400z to 0800z 21/03/2003 (3pm to 7pm local)

    Satellite Images

    From TWC Weatherzone

    20th March
    4pm local 5pm local

    21st March
    4pm local 5pm local

    Analysis Chart

    From Bureau of Meteorology

    20/03/2003 06z
    21/03/2003 06z

    Document: 200303-08.htm
    Updated: 16th April, 2005
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