21st Conf. on Severe Local Storms


Characteristics of severe hail events in eastern Australia

Donna F. Tucker, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS

Australia is not commonly considered to be a region with large amounts of severe hail, yet Australia's costliest natural disaster was a hailstorm. Severe weather was not routinely reported in Australia until 1990 and some places with relatively large amounts of hail have no reports prior to then. In the major cities of the east coast, Melbourne, Sydney and Brisbane, the records are longer. Yet even considering their population differences with more rural areas, the major cities are all especially favored for large hail. This paper will briefly summarize the geographic and temporal distribution of hail in eastern Australia.

The paper will also discuss the meteorological characteristics associated with approximately 100 severe hail events in eastern Australia for which there is a nearby sounding. Genereally severe hail events in eastern Australia are associated with low to moderate CAPE but relatively high wind shear. About half of the events studied occurred when a strong 500 mb vorticity maximum was located about 300 km southwest of the affected area. Other events are associated with a frontal passage or a strong destabilizing mechanism. A few events occur beneath upward motion induced by a jet streak. There is a fair amount of interannual variability in the number of hail events which occur. Thus, it might be possible to do long term outlooks for the number of hailstorms in a season.

extended abstract  Extended Abstract (124K)

Poster Session 3, Hail and Hailstorms
Monday, 12 August 2002, 3:00 PM-4:30 PM

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