Hey gang! What a day it's been, even wilder than I anticipated!! My report for the rest of the day...
Reached a scorching, oppressive top of 37.5°C here in Belgrave today, but the humidity made it feel like 38°C. Maddening conditions.
The whole day it was full of uncertainty, and after watching impressive storms flaring away down south above the Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas and northwest over the Macedon Ranges around lunchtime (from near my workplace in Boronia), I was nearly about to write the event as a fizzer when the trough moved in around 1:30pm, which I initially mistook for either a seabreeze or a change that would kill off any prospect of storm development, but my instincts kept telling me to be patient. Good thing I "kept my cool" (pardon the pun) in spite of the almost-unbearable heat lol.
Clouds were flying by in different directions and convection was erupting like crazy from lunchtime until I knocked off work around 3pm, with the northwest skies looking ominous from storms that were erupting from Sunbury north to Seymour and beyond around 2pm. The northerly winds provided little relief from the sweltering conditions (it felt like Fiji in mid-winter).
By the time I knocked off work, I knew it was finally "game-on", and the fun was about to begin! The western horizon from Macedon down to Scoresby was a dark, angry wall of towering cumulonimbus, with light spitting rain falling from the leading edges of the looming storm front!
I went to Ringwood to join my fiancee, and by the time I had parked the car at Eastland Shopping Centre I dashed out to the south-facing entrance (near Maroondah Highway) and could see the base of the squall line (around 3:20pm), which appeared to have broken up into somewhat smaller groups or lines at this point; the activity to the south stretched from about Williamstown to Narre Warren. It was dark, with a bit of a shelf cloud forming to the southwest, but I only saw one or two lightning flashes.
Roughly 5-10 minutes later, a new cell developed roughly over the Doncaster/Heidelberg area and began approaching Ringwood. I didn't see much lightning initially as it approached, but it developed a scudding shelfie with ominous lowerings at its base ahead of the core (as if a tornado was getting ready to form), with an impressive anvil hanging overhead! The cell appeared to slow down and eventually stall just before Ringwood (according to the Laverton radar), but became part of a rapidly building, exploding storm system that struck Ringwood just after 4pm! It got very dark and quite windy as the main storm cloud and associated shelfie (and an annoying scud layer) swept in, with rain starting to fall, and thunder and lightning increased dramatically. Most of the lightning was infrequent and faint, only once or twice a minute, and only lasted around 20 minutes or so, but we had around 2-3 of dangerously close CGs, including one of the closest lightning strikes I've ever had - followed by loud, INSTANTANEOUS thunder that startled me and other shoppers at Eastland!! =D
Then within 20 minutes, the heaviest downpours commenced, making conditions crazy during the drive home through Croydon, Kilsyth, Bayswater and Boronia! Serious flooding (including blocked gutters and drains, stranded cars, traffic chaos, loose gravel/twigs/leaves/etc, roads down to only one lanes in spots, emergency service personnel, and so on) along Mount Dandenong Road, Dorset Road, and Colchester Road! Brought back memories of the flooding we had in February 2005 and February 2011. Also a bit more lightning while in Croydon. No hail or damaging winds to worry about though. Didn't reach home until 6pm.
First time I've ever had to deal with driving along flooded roads; good thing my fiancee was able to guide me and encourage me. She is used to dealing with these sorts of conditions back home in Fiji, but although she knows we do often get heavy rainfall she still found it very hard to believe that Melbourne can on occasion get hit hard by flooding!
Monbulk Creek is also in flood, but couldn't tell how much flooding was taking place along Dandenong Creek.
Plenty of low cloud about the Dandenong Ranges during the storm, and earlier this morning over the Yarra Ranges.
The rain stopped and the storm cleared soon after 6pm, with a nice double rainbow when the sun came out!
Collected a staggering 56mm of rain during the storm event, which lasted for about 2.5 hours here in Belgrave. This pushes the December 2016 total from 36.9mm to 92.9mm! The peak rainfall rate was around 150-160mm/hr according to my dad, even though the peak rate that was displayed on my weather station when I got home at 6pm was 16.8mm/hr. Although the ground is dry and is soaking much of the rain very quickly, it should be enough to hold back the fire threat for at least a few weeks! Very happy about that.
Currently a calm but very sticky 23°C outside. Only a brief sunset this evening due to the extensive cloudcover, but just when I thought it was All Over Red Rover, it seems a new line of showers and thunderstorms is initiating along a line from Melbourne Airport to Castlemaine as I type! Another dose of action and some more heavy rain perhaps? Only need just over another 7mm to hit the magic 100mm mark!
Pics to come later, including some my fiancee took of the flooding while I was driving.