Hail and waterspouts in Australian coastal cities

Details and video here.

Hail that covered the ground like snow along the Gold Coast, photo below:

Photo: Isabelle Vallin-Thorpe who writes – Photos taken tonight from where we live, Gold Coast hinterland. I nearly slid off the road, brakes got jammed, too much hail and snow… which is holding in some areas.

h/t to reader Ray

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Brian H
May 30, 2011 5:03 pm

Welcome to Aussie Cooling. The SH will not be spared …

Jason Bair
May 30, 2011 5:03 pm

For us Northern Hemisphere folk, note the clockwise rotation. It feels very odd to see.

May 30, 2011 5:12 pm

…yep..”snow on the Gold Coast”…no Climate change going on there..none at all.

Douglas DC
May 30, 2011 5:32 pm

I’ve seen water spouts on the Southern Oregon coast, and this is quite impressive.
Cold air and instability do amazing things..

Robert of Ottawa
May 30, 2011 5:38 pm

jcrabb, your lack of /sarc suggests you are being sarcastic. You will get tired of saying that every snow storm and hot spell and drought and flood are due to man-made global warming. You will get tired of being laughed off the stage.
“Oh, look, big shiney thing in sky – global warming”
“Oh, look, big shiney thing in sky disappeared = sacrifices to bring it back”

Richard Sharpe
May 30, 2011 5:55 pm

jcrabb says on May 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm

…yep..”snow on the Gold Coast”…no Climate change going on there..none at all.

Well, that’s because of the global warming, don’t you see. The acceleration of the hydrological cycle due to global warming has confused the hydrological cycle so it produces snow and hail in places where it should produce rain, and it produces cool weather and rain in places where it should produce sunshine. It’s all teleconnected!

May 30, 2011 6:09 pm

Aussies on the east cost have had a shocking year. On this side of the Tasman – at least in northern climes – it has been fantastic. Record high May temps, close to it through April. all on the back of a gorgeous summer. No drought, either, though it was looking a bit that way last spring.
All of which was entirely predictable with such a massive La Nina extending well into the west Pacific. Climate change? Well, it was certainly a profound change from the immediately preceding El Nino.

May 30, 2011 6:09 pm

Oh dear, it’s worse than we thought. The science has settled even further. Like a bad chest cold. I have a feeling we’re not in New South Wales anymore. C’nardly wait for the Aussie Climate Madhouse to respond to this.

Ross Brisbane
May 30, 2011 6:13 pm

Robert: Just like the claim – yep its cooling! Cuts both ways.

May 30, 2011 6:22 pm

jcrabb says:
May 30, 2011 at 5:12 pm

…yep..”snow on the Gold Coast”…no Climate change going on there..none at all.

A better response would be:
…yep..”snow on the Gold Coast”…no Global Warming going on there..none at all.
You see, the invention of the term ‘Climate Change’ was a master-stroke of propaganda. Anything notable, anything at all, can be labelled ‘Climate Change’, and it almost always is by the CAGW faithful. The inconvenient truth is that it has pretty much always happened before, and there is no trend in any of these changes. What we are seeing right now is unusually cold weather, and have done for a few years now. To magically equate that with, and put forth as evidence of, Global Warming (its true moniker) is truly fatuous.

May 30, 2011 6:26 pm

The photo must be a special effect done in photoshop because Bill Nye The Science Guy says that tornadoes only happen in America.

May 30, 2011 6:40 pm

Andy G55
May 30, 2011 6:48 pm

Temperatures/climate are just cycling back to 1970’s levels. (as some of the better informed , not AGW brainwashed, real climate scientists have suggested they would do)
To say that hail storms on the east coast of Australia, and waterspouts are something that is different and unusual, obviously has never lived on the east coast of Australia for any length of time.

Andy G55
May 30, 2011 6:50 pm

and Jcrabb.. it was hail, NOT snow on the gold coast. do learn to read !!

R. Gates
May 30, 2011 7:08 pm

The ice core record is quite clear on this- hail and water spouts only occur during CO2 induced global warming at the end of a La Nina and after a long and deep solar minimum.
Now..sarc off

May 30, 2011 7:13 pm

Hail that covered the ground like snow”

Never been skiing?

Theo Goodwin
May 30, 2011 7:14 pm

From Channel 7:
“Several powerful columns of swirling air could be seen blasting along the water’s surface near the coastline. Channel 7 claimed the spouts reached heights of up to 600 metres (nearly two thousand feet), but dissipated as they neared land. The natural wonders came as strong winds and heavy rain also lashed other parts of the state, causing flash flooding and traffic chaos in Sydney.”
How many people were killed? Is this a weather report or an ad for Paradise Island?

May 30, 2011 7:27 pm

That is probably the most dramatic waterspout footage I have ever seen. Then the camera pans away and shows a second, and a third.
Then WHAT was UP with the water falling off the cliff being blown backwards?
Does water fall the opposite direction Down Under, as well? 😉
Norfolk, VA, USA

Les Francis
May 30, 2011 7:30 pm

Water Spouts are common in Australian waters – it’s just you don’t have a helicopter around every day to film them.
Here’s a Clip of hailstorms during a cricket match in Brisbane
Hailstones in 1992 Gabba

May 30, 2011 7:33 pm

an endless piece with endless misinformation:
Newsweek: Sharon Begley: Are You Ready for More?
In a world of climate change, freak storms are the new normal. Newsweek’s Sharon Begley on why we’re unprepared for the harrowing future, and how adapting to the inevitable might be our only option…
Even those who deny the existence of global climate change are having trouble dismissing the evidence of the last year…
Scientists disagree about whether climate change will bring more intense or frequent tornadoes, but there is wide consensus that the 2 degrees Fahrenheit of global warming of the last century is behind the rise in sea levels, more intense hurricanes, more heat waves, and more droughts and deluges. Even if the world went carbon-neutral tomorrow, we’d be in for more: Because of the CO2 that has already been emitted, we’re on track for an additional 5 degrees of warming. Batten down the hatches. “You can no longer say that the climate of the future is going to be like the climate of today, let alone yesterday,” says Judi Greenwald, vice president of innovative solutions at the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. “In all of the plausible climate scenarios, we are going to have to change the way we do things in ways we can’t even predict.”…
So what lies behind America’s resistance to action? Economist Sachs points to the lobbying power of industries that resist acknowledgment of climate change’s impact. “The country is two decades behind in taking action because both parties are in thrall to Big Oil and Big Coal,” says Sachs. “The airwaves are filled with corporate-financed climate misinformation.”….

May 30, 2011 7:52 pm

“Bill Nye The Science Guy says that tornadoes only happen in America.” – he’s sort of right. In Australia we have the ‘Willy-Willy’ rather than tornadoes. It’s only in recent times I have heard the local news start to refer to them as ‘mini-tornadoes’. (I’m Adelaide South Australia)
Oh! and waterspouts have always been called …… ‘waterspouts’. 🙂

James Allison
May 30, 2011 8:15 pm

R. Gates says:
May 30, 2011 at 7:08 pm
Ahh Mr Gates – you do have a sense of humour.
Beautiful mild warm autumn across the ditch. Very little snow on Southern Alps with ski several fields normally opening within the next few weeks. Skiers are getting worried.

Andy G55
May 30, 2011 8:31 pm

to savethesharks.
Quite often when these thunderstorms hit we have pretty high on-shore (south easterly) winds. These hit the cliffs and are forced up and over, causing the effect as seen. Pretty cool image, hey.
Sort of like when we get a strong offshore breeze, and it blows the spray backwards off the top of the break.
Oh, and I remember when I was young, and the old FJ Holden got caught in a hail storm. dimpled roof there-after, and the steel was rather thicker than what is used now.

Mac the Knife
May 30, 2011 8:56 pm

WOW! A water spout ‘hat trick’! That is amazing footage!!! It looks like science fiction footage from some ‘alien landscape’!
At the age of 7 or so, I saw a tornado drop down on to Big Green Lake, in Green Lake county, Wisconsin, and become a water spout. The tornado/water spout column flashed to misty white when it hit the water. My recollection is that it only lasted for 15 – 30 seconds and then retreated back into the low clouds.

May 30, 2011 8:56 pm

Waterspout – tornado … they all look alike to the untrained eye, but in reality they are a different beasts.
Per: http://www.crh.noaa.gov/apx/science/waterspouts/waterspouts.php
1. What is a Waterspout?
Persons living in northern Michigan are well aware that the Great Lakes have a profound impact on local weather patterns. Examples include heavy lake effect snows in winter, and cooling lake breezes in summer. As the end of the summer season approaches, another type of unique Great Lakes weather phenomena is possible — the waterspout. The following waterspout photo was taken over Lake Huron in the fall of 1999 [see link above].
Dr. Joseph Golden, a distinguished waterspout authority with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), defines the waterspout as a “funnel which contains an intense vortex, sometimes destructive, of small horizontal extent and which occurs over a body of water.” The belief that a waterspout is nothing more than a tornado over water is only partially true. The fact is, depending on how they form, waterspouts come in two types: tornadic and fair weather.
Tornadic waterspouts generally begin as true tornadoes over land in association with a thunderstorm, and then move out over the water. They can be large and are capable of considerable destruction. Fair weather waterspouts, on the other hand, form only over open water.
They develop at the surface of the water and climb skyward in association with warm water temperatures and high humidity in the lowest several thousand feet of the atmosphere. They are usually small, relatively brief, and less dangerous. The fair weather variety of waterspout is much more common than the tornadic.
Waterspouts occur most frequently in northern Michigan during the months of August, September, and October, when the waters of the Great Lakes are near their warmest levels of the year. Waterspout formation typically occurs when cold air moves across the Great Lakes and results in large temperature differences between the warm water and the overriding cold air.
MORE – see link above
– – – – – – – – – – – –
Let’s not get into a state of ‘stimulus generalization’ over phenomena that has clearly different origins simply due to the fact that they can take on similar appearances at some point in their lifetimes.

May 30, 2011 9:28 pm

Captured formation of *two* waterspouts simultaneously while recording – kinda confirming Dr. Joseph Golden five stages of waterspout formation:
1. Dark spot. A prominent circular, light-colored disk appears on the surface of the water, surrounded by a larger dark area of indeterminate shape and with diffused edges.
2. Spiral pattern. A pattern of light and dark-colored surface bands spiraling out from the dark spot which develops on the water surface.
3. Spray ring. A dense swirling annulus (ring) of sea spray, called a cascade, appears around the dark spot with what appears to be an eye similar to that seen in hurricanes.
4. Mature vortex. The waterspout, now visible from water surface to the overhead cloud mass, achieves maximum organization and intensity. Its funnel often appears hollow, with a surrounding shell of turbulent condensate. The spray vortex can rise to a height of several hundred feet or more and often creates a visible wake and an associated wave train as it moves.
5. Decay. The funnel and spray vortex begin to dissipate as the inflow of warm air into the vortex weakens.

Related – the dust devil:

Dust Devil at a soccer game (dramatic footage):

On a drive out west (Nevada) yrs ago during June or July, witnessed many a DD out away from the highway .. pretty awesome sights, really.

Keith Minto
May 30, 2011 9:54 pm

BOM has a brief description of waterspouts…..

Waterspouts are occasional visitors to tropical seas. They are a weak form of tornado and are not always associated with thunderstorms – often they develop at the base of smaller (cumulus) clouds which are rapidly growing. Waterspouts pose a danger to boaters, and can sometimes cause damage at the coast if they move over land.

They move clockwise as intense low pressure systems do in the SH. I was on the edge of this system but it looked very impressive as it moved North East, we had some hail but nothing like the Gold Coast. On June 3 , last year a waterspout moved over land at Lennox Head NSW, causing localised damage. As I type this, there is thunderstorm activity outside. Better go.

Patrick Davis
May 30, 2011 9:54 pm
Len van Burgel
May 30, 2011 10:49 pm

It has been discussed at WUWT before, but Willy-Willy’s in Australia are not tornadoes or tropical cyclones, they are dust devils. There has been some conjecture that the term Willy-willy was derived from a aboriginal name which described a tropical cyclone, but these days a willy-willy is a term for the not infrequent dust devil.

Len van Burgel
May 30, 2011 10:53 pm

A tornado can rotate either clockwise or anticlockwise in the NH or SH depending on the vertical wind shear at the time of formation. Indeed most tornadoes in the SH do rotate clockwise and in the NH anticlockwise but exceptions do occur.

Keith Minto
May 30, 2011 11:25 pm

Intense rain thunder and marble sized hail (I sectioned two but there was no discernible nucleus), it cleared, I fed the horse, and to the east was a patch of Mammatus clouds of which this is an example.

May 30, 2011 11:46 pm

_Jim, neat info in those 5 points on formation. You know, that’s the same way dust devils seem to form, bottom up in contrast to real tornadoes always top down. Seeing that water spout made me want to go play in it! I’ve done that in a dust devil, but the dust in your eyes!
You might find this interesting on how waterspouts and dust devils may form from the same effect (maybe not):

[…] “the wind velocities inside dust devils. It was found that the atmospheric temperature structure could be expressed as consisting of four layers. The first layer, extending from the surface to a height of 0.3 meter or less, was extremely superadiabatic, with lapse rates as much as 9000 times the dry adiabatic. The second layer, from 0.3 to about 10 meters, was normally 20–40 times the dry adiabatic. The third layer, typically several hundred meters thick, was moderately superadiabatic, and the top layer, of unknown thickness, was dry to subadiabatic. It was determined from eighty dust devil penetrations that the maximum vertical wind velocity (w max) at the 2‐meter height in dust devils was dependent solely on the thickness of the moderately superadiabatic layer” […]

I never knew that. That seems to be the reason they form bottom up and are so relative weak compared to actual tornadoes, being only dependant on the lower meter or so.

May 30, 2011 11:53 pm

Len van Burgel says:
May 30, 2011 at 10:49 pm
It has been discussed at WUWT before, but Willy-Willy’s in Australia are not tornadoes or tropical cyclones, they are dust devils. There has been some conjecture that the term Willy-willy was derived from a aboriginal name which described a tropical cyclone, but these days a willy-willy is a term for the not infrequent dust devil.
Since I am apparently the only “Chris” within earshot of this post….please cite for me where I said “willy-willys” were tropical cyclones, dust devils, tornadoes, whirlpools, eddies, vortices, zephyrs….or anything of the like???
I was talking about the waterspouts on the dramatic footage shown.
Last time I checked (at least in the US) they are called waterspouts.
Now you guys might want to call them waterdevils….and that is fine.
Speaking of devils…..check out the whirling dervish dance of violent vortices before they suddenly combine and WHAM.
The most deadly tornado to hit the USA in half a century…is about to be born.
If there ever was a textbook description in video, of the term CYCLOGENESIS, it is this one:

Norfolk, VA, USA

Patrick Davis
May 31, 2011 12:01 am

I don’t have any links but the weather forecast on channel 7 news tonight mentioned that Darwin had it’s coldest QUARTER in decades, Sydney had it’s codest May night, and sure it was alright, since 1970. Added to this Canberra had it’s coldest May night in 74 years recently, and we still have winter to go.
Are the alarmists still convinced CO2 causes global warming, y’know before it became climate change?

May 31, 2011 1:23 am

We get those things here in Zimbabwe too. They occur from early July and run through till the rains start in early November.
We call them “dust devils” because they occur mainly over the dry, dusty land but I have seen several on lake Kariba over the years.

May 31, 2011 2:17 am

Andy G55 says:
May 30, 2011 at 6:48 pm
To say that hail storms on the east coast of Australia, and waterspouts are something that is different and unusual, obviously has never lived on the east coast of Australia for any length of time.
Indeed. I remember well the wet period in the 50’s with water spouts quite common.
Another myth “bites the dust”.

May 31, 2011 3:44 am

In Australia waterspouts are just a thing of the past.
[Apologies for any typing copy errors]

Taranaki Herald – 7 February 1889
“A waterspout burst near Mansfield, when an indescribable scene occured. It swept everything before it, and a woman named King was drowned, her house being washed away.”
Timaru Herald, Volume LVII, Issue 5860, 9 January 1894
“A waterspout burst in the Cooma disrict at Coleringdon station, and 10 1/2 inches of rain fell in 20 minutes.”
Timaru Herald – 23 August 1895
“A waterspout passed over Rylestone. It burst about three miles from the town and tore through the bush, sweeping down trees and blocking roads for traffic.”
Thames Star – 14 February 1898
“A waterspout in the Bright district caused a flood, and considerable damage to roads and mining properties.”
The Pittsburgh Press – May 20, 1942
“The tallest waterspout on record was seen near the short of New South Wales, Australia, in 1898. It rose to a height of about 5000 feet.”

Len van Burgel
May 31, 2011 4:03 am

Savethesharks, look three messages down from yours to the Chris I am referring to (May 30, 7.52pm).
I have no argument with you.
A dust devil over water is a waterspout. As is a tornado over water. As has been described above they form from different mechanisms. My comment to Chris was something else.

May 31, 2011 4:36 am

In Australia and NZ hailstones are a sign that the weather is getting weirder.
[Apologies for any typing copy errors]

Evening Post – 10 October 1870
“An unusually severe hail-storm passed over Westport recently, by which a number of sky-lights were quickly demolished.”
The Sydney Morning Herald – Nov 3, 1881
“……a hail-storm killed hundreds of sheep and levelled several fields of wheat.”
Nelson Evening Mail – 20 November 1893
“A terrific hailstorm has been experienced at Bathurst. Immense damage was done to crops, stocks, and property. The hail was of great size, and several persons were injured.”
Bay Of Plenty Times – 10 November 1899
“Sydney -Immense hail stones fell in some places and killed poultry, pigs and dogs. Melbourne – Great damage was done to property, crops and vineyards in many districts by the wind and hailstones.”
Feilding Star – 16 November 1901
“Disastrous Gale In Australia. Terrible Havoc. At Bacchus Marsh, during a heavy thunderstorm, hailstones fell as large as hen’s eggs, and 86 points of rain fell in 15 minutes.”
Marlborough Express – 21 November 1906
“Sydney – A plague rat has been found at Darling Harbour. Sever thunderstorms and destructive hail-storms have occurred in many parts of the State. At Binger the hailstones lay six inches deep. Windows were broken, and houses un-roofed.”
Nelson Evening Mail – 4 March 1909
“Terrific Cyclone in West Australia. Following four days of intense heat, the storm came with rain, accompanied by large hailstones and a cyclonic wind.”
New York Times – January 02, 1947
“Hailstones Pelt Sydney; Damage and Injuries High”
Saskatoon Star-Phoenix – January 9, 1947
“Hailstones three inches in diameter have fallen in Sydney, Australia. Southern Alberta will have to look to its laurels as hail-stone capital of the world.”

chris b
May 31, 2011 6:44 am

How about a Snownado from Canada.

Go Canucks go!

chris b
May 31, 2011 6:47 am

The Globe is warming so fast it’s causing tornadoes (or is that tornados) everywhere. It’s worse than we thought!

chris b
May 31, 2011 6:53 am

Al Gore says that if we scrape the surface of the earth this is what we’ll from those millions of degrees.
If only he had one degree…..in Science.

chris b
May 31, 2011 7:02 am

And now Ice circles are cropping up wherever there’s Global Warming……….and a video camera.

Oh, the humanity!

Kevin Kilty
May 31, 2011 7:23 am

B. That’s what I calls a waterwheel!

Chris (in Adelaide)
May 31, 2011 5:22 pm

I’m the Chris that was talking about the Willy-willy. I understand the difference between tornado and dust-devil etc.. What I was referring to is the way the media, here in Australia, has started using the term mini-tornado to refer to what are actually only large dust devils (willy-willy). I suspect it’s classic stuff along the lines of mini-tornado (is there any such thing?) sounding so much more dramatic than ‘large willy-willy’ does. The media love the dramatic.

Len van Burgel
May 31, 2011 11:12 pm

Chris in Adelaide:
I get the impression that the media are using the term mini-tornado for severe thunderstorm downbursts. That is because meteorologists are reluctant to attribute damage confined to a narrow swath as being caused by a tornado without a site inspection first being made. This is especially so for winter tornadoes where a clear funnel is not always observed. Severe thunderstorm downburst damage is similar to tornado damage and often only after on the site inspection to determine if there is rotation evident in the damage path, can it be said with certainty a tornado occurred. Unless of course eyewitness accounts or the severity of the damage make it obvious. In the meantime a mini-tornado or a tornadic squall is a reasonable compromise as a description.

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