On Sept 25th I was heading to the coast for a day of drone filming when I suddenly saw a massive fire in the distance. I changed my plans and made my way in the direction of the smoke and discovered a violent fire in progress at Higgin's Car Dismantlers on the hills outside Garvagh. This fire raged in the afternoon heat with vast billowing smoke plumes blowing for miles down range at spectacular speed while the fire engulfed cars accompanied by loud popping and cracking sounds from tires, oil, and petrol erupting in the blaze. In total 600 cars were destroyed, the following report is a combination of ground based DSLR stills and drone aerial video. The fire was eventually brought under control thanks to numerous fire fighters and police at the scene. One page report with 8 images and 1 video clip.
The 2016 storm season ended in spectacular fashion on Aug 25th when John Fagan and I chased a huge organized multicell thunderstorm in a highly sheared set up which allowed for explosive thunderstorm development after a late afternoon cap break. We intercepted the storm at Downhill Beach where we had the luxury of watching the storm build from the west while crawling towards us forming a spectacular stacked shelf cloud with pink lightning flashing away. This storm became our fourth night time thunderstorm of the season with a bombardment of c-g and in-cloud bolts lighting up the sky over the sea from the beach. This storm would become famous for sporting the best shelf cloud ever seen from N. Ireland. One page report with 15 images and 1 video clip.
Brand new night shoot on the Co. Antrim coast with John Fagan using the light of the waxing gibbous moon to shoot sky and landscape imagery with star trails over Carrick-a-Reed rope bridge then climaxing with a surreal photo shoot in the middle of the night of Ballintoy church and stars from inside a vast moonlit barely field which made for a fun and atmospheric night under the stars. The report includes drone footage of Ballintoy church and the barely field during the magic light of golden hour. One page report with 9 images and 2 video clips.
July 19th 2016 was the not only the hottest day of the year with temps peaking at 30 degrees C however it was also the best thunderstorm set-up I have ever seen in this country. An unstable SEly plume of warm and humid air advected N across the country boasting more than 2000 CAPE and a lifted index of -8 with strong wind shear generating the risk of severe thunderstorms, 3cm hail stones, supercells and even an MCS. The cap broke late in the afternoon and eight of us chased to the west coast converging on Mullaghmore in Co. Sligo where we got treated to multiple rounds of elevated storms climaxing in an epic dusk lightning display with pink flashes and in-cloud bolts lighting up a massive sheared storm in three places across 180 degrees of sky. This storm produced the most prolific lightning rates I had ever witnessed with sferic rates akin to flashing lights on a Christmas tree. One page report with 12 images and 1 video clip.
After years of chasing, hundreds of miles on the road, and countless hours scanning the skies I finally captured my first decent funnel cloud in years during the late morning hours on Friday June 24th 2016 from near home in Maghera. Unstable air with 700+ CAPE with a slack flow and localised convergence zones produced a beautiful well defined rope funnel cloud from the base of a mean cell sitting over the hills outside of town. The funnel rotated in perfect view for 10 min's sporting a lovely curved profile with translucent condensation funnel composed of two vortices embedded inside. I obtained a selection of images and video clips with the DSLR and 400mm lens as the funnel performed its silent dance in the skies while I watched in complete comfort in warm sunshine in the company of beautiful storm clouds building over the vibrant fields near home which made for a perfect day. One page report with 11 images and 2 video clips.
The atmosphere looked energetic on June 23rd 2016 with 700 CAPE, LIs of -5 with soundings indicating low cloud bases accompanied by a moist SWly flow with 30 knots of speed shear producing a risk of heavy showers and organised thunderstorms with a chance of hail to 1.5cm and funnel clouds/weak tornadoes. This turned into a very rewarding day involving three chases in my local area beginning with a high precip convective line from Maghera then getting high rewards in the form of the most dramatic storm structure I have captured in years over the Glenshane Road in the form of a huge sheared updraught base complimentd by a dramatic line of storm clouds extending for miles across the sky in the late evening light sporting rare globular cloud structures as multiple sunlit updraughts rapidly expanded in real time aloft. One page report with 18 images and 2 video clips.
I have always wanted to film hot air balloons with a drone and that chance finally appeared one beautiful warm Summer's evening on June 8th 2016 when in the process of walking through Drumlamph Woodland near Maghera. By chance and with amazing luck a formation of seven hot air balloons rose from a field adjacent to the woods close beside me, I got my Phantom 3 Adv in the air and managed to obtain beautiful footage of the balloons in transit across the western sky at golden hour. The climax happened when one of the balloons eclipsed the sun over a backdrop of the Sperrins and ancient Drumlamph woodland. One page report with 1 image and 1 video clip.
One of two reports covering three days of storm chasing during a dramatic thundery outbreak producing high CAPE and active electrical thunderstorms across N. Ireland for several days in a row. On June 7th 2016 the cap broke during the early afternoon resulting in explosive updraught development across my home area. Conor McDonald and I went chasing locally and made multiple thunderstorm intercepts across Benbradagh mountain, Maghera and Knockloughrim. The storms were slow moving and producing rich lightning strike rates with many rumbles of thunder tapping into over 1000 CAPE of energy on a warm and humid Summer's day. One page report with 11 images and 1 video clip.
On June 6th I did a solo chase to Co. fermanagh then into Ballintra where I intercepted two lively thunderstorms with high sferics rates and rich thunder on the hills in the middle of nowhere with the second storm sporting a nice shelf cloud, I arrived back home after 10 hours on the road only to be hitting the road once again to intercept a plume-type elevated thunderstorm which originated in Wales, crossed the Irish Sea, then impacted E. N. Ireland after dark. I met Conor McDonald ad John Fagan at Ballyronan Marina and three of watched the best night time lightning display since 2005 with three hours of lightning ending in close range bolts over the water which delivered monsoon style rainfall and a freak audio phenomena through the darkness which left us all thrilled. One page report with 17 images and 2 video clips.
I chased storms during the weekend of May 21st and 22nd which produced an abundance of cells and several thunderstorms however the weakly capped atmosphere developed too much convection early in the day resulting in messy high precipitation storms. All that changed at dusk on May 21st when a massive storm formed over the S side of Cookstown with huge billowing solid updraughts, I launched my Phantom 3 Advanced drone and obtained aerial video of this impressive storm with lowerings in the eerie blue glow of twilight above the lights of Cookstown followed by a sudden night time lightning show of which I recorded several episodes of stunning pink lightning over Lough Neagh and Antrim which was spectacular to watch above the horizon from the air in the darkness. One page report with 11 images & 1 video clip.
On May 2nd 2016 I was in Cookstown watching convection all day from my Dad's house while working on my lap top when radar showed a formation of heavy convective showers out west heading for the Co. Tyrone area. After 19.00 UT we could hit by heavy rain and blustery winds then just as the cell passed the house we got treated to a stunning primary and secondary rainbow and a huge solid anvil with mammatus passing over the estate all lit into brilliant high contrast white by the low sun and surrounded by blue sky. The cell looked beautiful and dramatic towering over the houses while I took DSLR images from the estate and road to document the scene, I also obtained aerial video of the departing cell using the Phantom 3 Advanced. One page report with 9 images and 1 video clip.
With the arrival of high pressure and an entire week of warm and dry weather ahead I decided to get airborne and spend the entire week flying and filming with the Phantom 3 Advanced quadcopter/drone spending long hours outside filming and training from a variety of interesting locations. This report documents the filming and aerial exploration of five different quarries throughout this period which was a fascinating experience, the highlights were McCann's, Creagh and Northstone Materials quarries including the visual observation of several dust devils and the appearance of a beautiful and complex sun halo with intense upper tanget and parry arcs near Lough Fea. One page report with 17 images and 5 video clips.
I went storm chasing on April 9th 2016 with my wife Roisin and photographer Paul Martin to hunt for funnels and thunderstorms in Co. Fermanagh where slack air and local convergence looked favourable during afternoon heating hours despite the low end instability. We encountered a short lived funnel cloud embedded within precip upon arrival over Lower Lough Erne then drove through the aftermath of a strong hail core in Belleek which left deposits of hail on the fields and roadsides like snow. During the evening hours we relocated to Pigeon Top mountain outside Omagh where we took drone footage of a large cell over Strabane to our N with anvil and sweeping hail curtains. The day ended during the drive home when Roisin and I met a beautiful cell with dense hail curtain lit by sunset colours as it passed over the main Omagh Road near An Creagan. One page report with 8 images and 2 video clips.
Third storm chase of the 2016 season on March 29th on a day of unstable air with -35 degree C cloud tops and good visibility. Based on model data we decided to chase to the southern Sperrins in Co. Tyrone at Beaghmore Stone Circles. Roisin and I were joined by Paul Martin, Tracy Sharkey and John Fagan and together the five of us spent the day storm spotting from this infamous megalithic site. We got treated to the passage of beautiful convection and cells in full sunlight and surrounded by clear air adjacent to the stone circles themselves where we shot still imagery and time lapse video which made for a very rewarding day. Also included are images of dramatic storm clouds at sunset from Glenshane Road the following day during another chase of March 30th. 1 page report 13 with images and 1 video clip.
An unexpected surprise manifested after dark on April 7th 2016 when a heliospheric current sheet generated a G1 geomagnetic storm. Long time aurora observing friend Conor McDonald and I watched the event from Killyleagh Lough outside Maghera under a beautiful clear and dark moonless sky. The aurora went into three outbursts with a vivid green arc displaying pillars which were so bright they blocked out the stars and reflected upon the lake. Half a dozen or more rays punctuated the sky as the rainbow-like arc pulsated in brightness with beautiful pink and purple colours on camera which made for a stunning night under the stars. One page report with 6 images, 1 time lapse video and 1 aerial video of the lake filmed using a drone.
March 27th brought the first true inland convection of the season across Ireland with 400-500 CAPE in an unstable SWly flow with good lapse rates and no cap which promised a fine day of storm chasing with heavy showers of hail and isolated thunderstorms. My Wife Roisin and I went chasing together then met up with John Fagan at Ballyronan Marina where we spent the entire day shooting cells crossing Lough Neagh with particularly large cells being invigorated by their passage across the lough during golden hour which made for a satisfying day of convective photography with 8 hours on location taking stills, DSLR and video time lapse and even a quadcopter flight to film a cell from the air. One page report with 8 images and 1 video clip.
First storm chase of Spring on March 26th 2016 when Roisin and I chased to Mullaghmore in Co. Sligo to take advantage of afternoon unstable skies in a stormy SWly flow. We encountered sustained severe winds which rocked the van forcing us to stay inside for the duration of the shoot with rough seas, big swells and sheared wave tops. The highlights were the fast moving continuous barrage of convective showers accompanied by strong squalls and horizontal hail stones complimented with moody storm clouds and a stunning sunset over the ocean horizon. One page report with 8 images and 1 video clip.
On March 7th 2016 I went for a walk with my Wife and Dad through the woodland near Lissan House outside Cookstown with the intention of doing a routine test flight of the Phantom 3 quadcopter. Suddenly the clouds parted then a magnificent rainbow appeared on the departing shower generating a rich primary and secondary bow with supernumerary arcs. Despite precip falling from the sky I got the P3 airborne and managed to film an incredible rare 360 degree full circle rainbow with the coloured bow projected onto the fields and treetops below with Lissan House in the frame making this the first aerial rainbow all of us had ever seen. One page report with 15 images and 1 video clip.
Mother's Day will be long remembered for the stunning aurora display which manifested in the frosty night sky after dark on March 6th 2016. NOAA had issued a G1 storm watched however thanks to a southerly Bz and CIR effects this aurora intensified into a beautiful G2 geomagnetic storm. My Wife and I, by chance, happened to catch it inland from Co. Antrim just as it was going into outburst and watched in awe as the sky turned green and red as a multitude of pillars danced across the sky beside the famous Toomebridge with rays penetrating straight through the lights and over the carriageway which made for a spectacular and unique visual scene to shoot. One page report with 7 images.
During the previous two weeks I had been the proud owner of the Phantom 3 Advanced quadcopter and had been training on fair weather days to improve my flying and filming methods. One of my main reasons for wanting the P3 was because I have always wanted to film snow from the air. On Feb 17th that chance presented itself when a frontal system clashing with cold air produced an isolated high ground snowfall. I spent that afternoon on the summit of Slieve Gallion which was covered in pristine snow with sunshine and blue skies aloft and made my dream come true. I filmed the snow from a great height then close to the surface during golden hour in perfect light getting the kind of aerial footage I have always wanted which was a thrilling experience. The report also includes DSLR still images from the 17th and 18th. One page report with 14 images and 1 video clip.
An extremely rare outbreak of Polar Stratospheric Clouds known as 'Mother of Pearl' or 'Nacreous' formed in the skies over UK and Ireland thanks to a combination of the southward displacement of the Polar Vortex and seeding from storms Gertrude and Frank which produced stratospheric temps of -80 degrees C. For the first time in 19 years of observing I had the privilege of photographing these rarest of clouds on Feb 2nd 2016 in the pre-dawn sky from Cookstown then after sunrise from Castledawson roundabout. These alien lenticular shaped iridescent clouds glowed vividly in the sky adjacent to the rising sun making for one of the rarest atmospheric phenomena I have ever seen. Also included is a beautiful sunrise from Glenshane Pass on Feb 3rd and my maiden flight of the Phantom 3 Advanced drone. One page report with 14 images and 2 video clips.
A deep and explosive Atlantic depression christened 'Henry' was due to impact the N and NW coastline of N. Ireland during the afternoon hours of Feb 1st 2016. Severe weather warnings were issued for 80+ mph winds with ''sustained hurricane force winds'' across the ocean, ''50ft waves'' and ''phenomenal sea conditions''. These warnings could not be ignored so I went chasing to the Co. Antrim coast with my Dad and Wife where we spent the day in awe shooting the incredible waves battering the Portstewart coastline. The ocean was a visual spectacle with massive breakers and trains of tsunami-like walls of water relentlessly thundering towards shore in what was for me the best Atlantic storm I have witnessed in years. One page report with 15 images and 2 video clips.
On January 31st 2016 a routine snow drive across the Sperrin Mountains took a dramatic turn when Roisin, my Dad and I encountered snow devils rotating across the mountain peak near the Glenedra road above Draperstown. We ended up watching at least a dozen snow devils of all sizes from compact highly concentrated whirlwinds to broad areas of circulation. The highlight was when a large snow devil formed near the mountain summit, raced down slope, crossed the field in which I stood, impacted me, passed over the car causing Dad to duck then reform as a white vortex in the fields behind us which made for an unforgettable day of Winter action. If this wasn't exciting enough a lost video camera adventure ensued then Dad had his maiden flight of the Phantom 3 quadcopter over the snowy landscape during last light. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip.
On January 24th 2016 I enjoyed my first photo shoot of the year on Glenshane Pass due to a short cold spell event which introduced Arctic air across N. Ireland generating several days of frosts, pristine air and periodic snow showers. I spent several hours on the mountain roads shooting night snow scenes with car trails using my window mounted DSLR in the company of passing snow showers, soft moonlight and beautiful starry skies which made for a fun night out under the heavens to get my first winter scenes of the new season. One page report with 7 images and 1 video clip.
November 20th 2015 brought the first taste of Winter to N. Ireland. I spent the afternoon doing a solo chase across Glenshane Pass where I encountered my first snow showers of the season complimented by mammatus clouds followed by further snow, hail and mammatus observations from the summit of Benbradagh where I had three video cameras documenting the action. After dark I met up with John Fagan and together we battled the elements back on Glenshane in a deadly wind chill as we attempted time lapse photography in strong squalls and acquired our first moonlit snow images of the season at an old favourite derelict house on the mountain. On page report with 6 images and 1 video clip.
Detailed report documenting a number of photo shoots on Nov 6th, 11th, 12th and 19th 2015 shooting Autumn storms at the Co. Antrim coast, daytime ocean sheared convection, night time thunderstorms over Donegal, time lapse shooting, star trails, aurora activity, Taurid fireballs then ending with a stunning Leonid fireball over Lough Fea which produced a smoke train visible to the naked eye for 15 min's. One page report with 11 images and 3 video clips featuring time lapse footage.
On October 31st 2015 John Fagan and I spent Halloween night doing a photo shoot at the Co. Antrim coast shooting star trails, time lapse video and patrolling for Taurid fireballs. The first half of the night was spent at Dunseverick waterfall which looked spectacular under the brilliant moonlight with stars aloft, then at 02.00 UT we relocated to the Ballintoy coastline and time lapsed the rise of the impressive triple planet conjunction between Venus, Jupiter and Mars using four DSLRs and various lenses as the planets rose above a flat sea horizon only 7 degrees apart sporting halos and glitter paths upon the beautiful moonlit ocean in the pre-dawn sky. One page report with 10 images and 1 time lapse video.
On September 30th 2015 during moonrise I photographed star trails over Ballintoy church then met up with John Fagan and spent the night shooting star trails and time lapse of the 60 million year old coastline at Elephant Rock between Ballintoy and White Park Bay beach under bright moonlight with multiple cameras on a beautiful starry night along the Co. Antrim coast. On the following night October 1st I joined Paul Martin and together we ventured into Co. Donegal and spent a very atmospheric night shooting the Milky Way and moonlit star trails around and within legendary Dunlewey church at Poisoned Glen followed by a stunning moonlit fog scene shoot late in the night at Mt. Errigal. One page report with 21 images and 1 time lapse video.
On October 7th 2015 two solar wind streams in conjunction with a co-rotating interaction region generated a strong G2 geomagnetic storm which showed itself to the naked eye at dusk even before the sky got dark. I met up with photographer John Fagan and together we shot the aurora from 60 million year old Elephant Rock near Ballintoy on the Co. Antrim coast with five cameras shooting time lapse footage and star trails with various lenses. The aurora went into an early outburst producing a twin tier band with vivid green colours illuminating the ocean complimented by a multitude of fast moving rays and spikes which completely blew us away. The report also documents two more aurora hunts along the coast on October 8th and 13th. One page report with 14 images and 2 time lapse videos.
During the early morning hours of September 28th 2015 a rare perigee total lunar eclipse occurred in N. Ireland skies in conjunction with an even more rare clear night. After setting the alarm my fiance Roisin and I woke at 02.30 in the morning and watched the spectacle together from my Dad's garden in Cookstown where we got treated to a sublime visual show. This was the darkest totality I had ever witnessed and during the climax of the umbral passage the landscape turned exceptionally dark with Milky Way and M31 easily visible to the naked eye, the eclipsed moon itself looked like a dark 3-D globe within Pisces with subtle red, orange, blue and black colour hues. The night was silent, exceedingly atmospheric and a great memory which we shall never forget. One page report with 6 images and 1 video clip.
New report documenting a series of late night photo shoots spread over a two week period at Dunluce Castle with photographer John Fagan shooting hours of time lapse footage and star trails at the Co. Antrim coast during September 2015 using several cameras and lenses on location. These shoots took place under dark skies then ended in bright moonlight with a surprise aurora outburst witnessed during the course of one such castle shoot. One page report with 8 images and 2 time lapse videos.
On September 9th 2015 I spent a serene night and solo shoot at the Giant's Causeway on the Co. Antrim coast photographing a beautiful G1 aurora display from this famous 60 million year old location. The aurora exhibited several outbursts with wonderful purple and red rays reaching over 30 degrees high from a vibrant green glowing band surrounded by stars. The night was very dark, moonless and 100% clear with barely a cloud in sight allowing me to shoot several star trails and time lapse footage with my DSLR and Go Pro cameras. One page report with 9 images and 1 time lapse video clip.
A fun afternoon chase through the country roads on August 29th 2015 near Ballymena. A storm was spotted far away to the SW so we moved to a strategic position deep in the countryside on a hill and had the luxury of watching a developing thunderstorm form over Moyola then trek NE over the River Bann, Portglenone then clipping Ballymena town. The storm looked mean and majestic over the lush fields with a compact but strong precip core with red and white echoes on radar. When the storm hit it delivered heavy rainfall, overhead bolts and very loud long duration rumbles of thunder. We chased the cell further NE and watched its flanking area pass over Slemish mountain with new daughter cells bubbling up in the warm afternoon sun. The report also includes a beautiful cell with segmented rainbow from Maghera on the 27th. One page report with 9 images and 2 video clips.
On August 12th 2015 we did an all night Perseid meteor shower watch from a jetty located at a terrific viewing location across Lower Lough Erne in Co. Fermanagh. Despite weather concerns earlier in the evening we got treated to pristine clear skies for the entire event and logged an astonishing 477 Perseids including several fireballs making this the best Perseid meteor shower we have ever observed to date, the thrilling night was complimented by a vibrant Milky Way and even a surprise faint aurora with rays across a lake covered in a blanket of mist. One page report with 12 images.
August 5th 2015 storm chase in a low CAPE-high shear set-up through parts of Co. Fermanagh and Co. Tyrone. During the evening hours an intense N-S convective line formed across a large area of the country sporting torrential rainfall containing red and white radar echoes. After hours of waiting and changing position we finally emerged from the vast precip core in Co. Tyrone into dry air and encountered a massive gust front with an impressive all-sky whale's mouth display with lightning and loud thunder which made for a dramatic sight as the storm swept across the lush countryside near Omagh in the evening light. One page report with 7 images and 1 video clip.
July 6th 2015 turned out to be the most thrilling chase day of the season to date when a warm sector low-CAPE high-shear set-up generated a risk of tornadoes across Ireland and even low topped supercells. I took my Mother chasing and between 17.30 and 17.45 UT we encountered a low topped supercell with incredible large scale rotation with a tornado in the form of a rotating wedge trying to plant on the edge of Enniskillen, as we watched in awe a hook echo formed on radar as cloud and precip with a possible wet RFD swept across our field of view. The chase then took us to Omagh where we encountered a dramatic rotating updraught base and punched a core of intense rainfall with weak ground circulation embedded within. Over 8 hours chasing this day and the closest I have ever come to a strong tornado forming in this country, a day I will never forget. Mostly video grabs used to document this chase. One page report with 25 images & 2 video clips.
A fun storm chase with Roisin on July 5th 2015 watching two thunderstorms from the top of Benbradagh near Dungiven. The second storm was observed from birth as it built cloud by cloud into a cell with a large textured updraught base which then began rumbling and producing lightning. We chased the storm N and punched through its strong precip core of rain and hail then encountered twin close range rapid fire lightning bolts striking the ground outside Garvagh, the cell then went on to cause flooding and damage to a bridge in Ballycastle. A 7 & 1/2 hour storm hunt which finally broke the long thunder drought. One page report with 12 images and 2 video clips with time lapse footage.
On June 22nd/23rd 2015 multiple CMEs impacted the Earth's magnetosphere generating a freak G5 geomagnetic storm peaking at KP9 with a Bz tilt of almost minus 40. Despite the severe challenge of seeing anything at all through the intense Summer twilight sky this close to the Solstice I was astonished to witness several naked eye aurora beams over 40 degrees tall slowly meandering through the twilight arch in ghostly fashion from a hill in the Maghera countryside. This was an extremely rare event which I haven't witnessed in over 18 years of aurora watching and to also get it on camera made this an unforgettable memory and the highlight of the Summer night sky this season to date. Also included is a wall-cloud type lowering under the base of a storm cell over the fields adjacent to Maghera on June 24th exhibiting keen inflow motion. One page report with 4 images and 1 time lapse video.
During the late evening of May 18th 2015 I was working on video editing in my room after a local chase earlier in the day when between 20.30 and 21.00 UT I felt a sudden impulse to glance out my window which revealed a stunning sunset sky show unfolding. I ran into my front garden and was instantly treated to the best mammatus cloud display I have ever seen with large udders arranged in streamers on a fanning wispy anvil all lit into glorious gold and yellow colours by the setting sun. For ten delightful minutes I watched and photographed the cell as it passed over Slieve Gallion with US-style mammatus hanging over Maghera before it passed over Lough Neagh and vanished into the darkness of dusk accompanied by several departing rumbles of thunder marking the second time a sunset mammatus display passed over my home area within a week. One page report with 15 images and 1 video clip.
A sudden and unexpected treat happened on May 11th 2015 when a cell passed over my home town of Maghera at 21.00 which produced a stunning widespread mammatus display on the back of a sheared anvil all it into vivid orange and golden colours by the setting sun which extended across 180 degrees of sky. After a last minute drive into the Maghera countryside adjacent to the Crewe Road I captured a succession of dramatic wide angle images of the display in perfect light with the clouds surrounded by clear blue sky in conjunction with Go Pro footage which made for spectacular end to the day. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip.
The grand finale of the 2015 Spring aurora season happened on April 16th when a G2 geomagnetic storm was generated by a fast moving solar wind stream which took everyone by surprise. I met up with photographer Paul Martin and together we drove into the beautiful countryside of Co. Fermanagh and photographed the stunning aurora over the ancient ruins of Monea castle near Derrygonnelly, the first time this has ever been done, and watched in awe as a vibrant pink and purple aurora surrounded the castle with angelic beams of light up to 40 degrees high. This night made the entire aurora season for me on both a personal and photographic level. This detailed report also documents a fox encounter, a faint aurora from Downhill beach the previous night and a wonderful sunset from Kildress church outside Cookstown. One page report with 16 images and 3 time lapse videos.
The skies turned green on St. Patrick's night March 17th 2015 when a CME impact generated an unexpected severe G4 geomagnetic storm peaking with a KP level of 8. This report documents the lead up to this event including images of the aurora itself captured from Ballintoy Harbour on the Co. Antrim coast as we battled with mist and haze to witness the finest aurora storm of the current solar cycle. We experienced three outbursts however the climax took place after 23.00 UT when the aurora turned epic sporting multi-coloured rays streaming past the zenith into the southern sky followed by the formation of a rare corona which I have not observed since the extreme aurora storms of 2002-2003 followed by another 02.00 outburst from the Giant's Causeway which made for an unforgettable night. One page report with 11 images and 1 time lapse video.
The third cold spell of the season affected N. Ireland on March 2nd and 3rd 2015 with a cold and very unstable Wly/NWly air mass from Canada which generated numerous snow storms and a great variety of Winter phenomena. I hunted for inland snow scenes during daylight hours and for convective ocean storms during the night on both days. Highlights were the surreal moonlit snow scenes at the north coast, the moonlit star trail imagery over Downhill and Mussenden Temple in pristine snow, the sheared moonlit ocean convection and an insane blizzard encounter on Brieen road where my Dad and I experienced severe winds, white outs and fast blowing snow so dense that my van vanished from view before my very eyes. One page report with 19 images and 2 video clips.
A wonderful Winter memory on February 2nd 2015 when my Fiance and I hiked up Benbradagh mountain outside Dungiven in the snow and reached the 1500ft summit to be treated to an epic view across pristine snow fields with drifts and rime ice lit into surreal brilliance by a blazing Winter sun surrounded by an orange corona and all contrasting against a deep blue sky in the freezing Polar air. One page report with 9 images and 1 video clip.
A nice Winter memory and local snow chase with my Fiance on the mountain roads between Draperstown and Moneymore on January 31st 2015 when we experienced a selection of beautiful and severe weather on a day of Polar air and strong Nly flow which produced a wind chill of -15C. A walk in the area lead to the discovery of Ballybriest stone tomb and a thrilling venture across snow covered fields like the Arctic, the snow blanket itself was covered with millions of frozen hail stones. The landscape was lit by a bright sun with a deep blue sky aloft with periodic bombardment from cells producing squalls of hail and snow into local blizzard-like conditions. One page report with images 7 and 1 video clip.
On January 29th 2015 I woke to a beautiful snow fall then spent the day chasing over the hills of Co. Tyrone driving over snow-covered mountain roads and drifts before encountering a field of stunning Stags and Sika Deer in deep snow for the second time this Winter. The Stags with their majestic antlers against a backdrop of pristine snow in perfect light looked like a scene straight from Canada. Following this we got hit by chunks of falling ice from the tree tops impacting the van roof during a forest drive to Lissan House in Cookstown. After sunset I relocated to the north coast and spent the first part of the night hunting lightning over the ocean in wild weather conditions with squalls, sleet and hail stones accompanied by horizontal sand and foam making for a thrilling day and night of non stop weather action and photography. One page report with 20 images and 1 video clip.
Final image report of 2014 documenting early Winter snow adventures and photography across the Sperrins on December 27th and 28th. Highlights include a freezing mountain BBQ in the snow half way up Slieve Gallion at night, a hike to the summit of Benbradagh where we witnessed a stunning sunset and paraglider jump then climaxing with a wonderful scene on the back of the Sperrins outside Cookstown when we encountered a field full of Deer and Stags grazing in the snow in perfect light on the coldest day of the year. One page report with 17 images and 1 video clip.
December 23rd/24th 2014 was the best Christmas Eve of my life when I proposed to my partner Roisin Laverty at the 60 million year old Giant's Causeway in the company of the stars and Milky Way while a bright aurora display bathed us in it's surreal light. After a year of planning and against all odds an aurora appeared which was not forecast sporting green, red and pink colours on the very night I had planned my proposal, this all took place during the early morning hours of Christmas Eve exactly when Roisin wanted to get engaged which made for a truly magical night which we will never forget. One page report with 5 images.
An unexpected sunset sky show unfolded during the afternoon of November 30th 2014 while I was visiting in-laws within the Creggan countryside near Lough Neagh. A remarkable long duration sunset with rich orange, red, and yellow colours manifested in the dusk sky complimented by a complex formation of altocumulus clouds. The sunset remained into evening twilight accompanied by the moon and brighter stars which was something I had never experienced before. It was a personal thrill to photograph this amazing sight standing within a pitch black field in crisp frosty air with a country house covered with Christmas lights for company. This sunset may have been 'volcanic' in nature due to rich Sulphur concentrations near the UK associated with a recent eruption in Iceland. One page report with 7 images.
What began as a late night aurora hunt at the Co. Antrim coast on November 5th 2014 turned into a moonlit photo shoot of the famous and haunted 17th century Hazlett House in Castlerock. I had a wonderful solo 2am photo shoot and star trail session of this beautiful thatch roof cottage with stars and convective clouds aloft and dramatic natural lighting. I also did several time lapse sequences at Downhill Beach with two cameras in operation under the surreal light of a near full moon. One page report with 8 images & 1 video clip.
At 03.00 on October 9th 2014 I drove to the top of Glenshane Pass in the hope of seeing lightning from distant storms over the Irish Sea however what I didn't expect was the manifestation of a beautiful and rare lunar fog bow. This was the first time I had ever captured a true lunar fog bow on camera and much to my great surprise the phenomena remained visible for almost one hour. I ended up having a thrilling night observing and photographing this ghostly bow all to myself from a field on this vast mountain with the surreal moonlit hills, stars and planet Jupiter for company. One page report with 6 images.
Our first trip and night time photo shoot at the famous Fanad Head Lighthouse on the Co. Donegal coastline with my girlfriend Roisin Laverty and photography mate Paul Martin on Sept 27th 2014. We spent hours at this beautiful location doing photography and observing the exceptional dark and transparent night sky which boasted stunning views of the Milky Way, green airglow and even a faint aurora complimented by night landscape imagery of the lighthouse with three star trail captures. Fantastic night with 4 hours and 180 miles on the road. One page report with 12 images & 1 video clip.
Detailed report documenting 9 hours of storm chasing, first in Omagh then a second evening chase intercepting the strongest thunderstorm of the year in N. Ireland in a well sheared environment with 1300 CAPE & LIs of -6. This organised storm with supercell traits made an impression over Co. Tyrone where I intercepted it's high precipitation core in Moneymore where it produced flash flooding which affected traffic and property. I chased the storm, punched the core & encountered incredible rotation & wrapping under the updraught base in Ballyronan then ended this 4 hour storm hunt near Toome watching lightning as dusk arrived. One page report with 12 images & 1 video clip.
An early afternoon intercept of a high precipitation organised thunderstorm in a sheared environment over the Sperrins featuring dramatic cloud structure captured from a freshly cut hay field outside Desertmartin on a warm and humid August 3rd 2014 . My girlfriend and I chased the storm then punched the core between Tobermore and Maghera where it produced monsoon-like rainfall with flooded roads and lightning. A very successful, fun and highly photogenic local storm chase. One page report with 7 images and 1 video clip.
June 10th 2014 was the final of four days in a row storm chasing with 1300 CAPE and LIs of -4. Storms fired early in the day and we watched several rumble away over Glenshane Pass then during the afternoon we intercepted an intense and beautiful surface based thunderstorm crossing Lough Neagh at Antrim Marina. The storm boasted rock solid cloud structure and large scale rotation before coming onshore and hitting Antrim town were it made an impression on many with its frequent lightning and hail stones. One page report with 11 images & 2 video clips including time lapse footage.
Third day in a row of storm chasing on June 9th 2014 when we chased across three counties with over 8 hours on the road. The day began with an early afternoon storm intercept with large wall cloud in Co. Fermanagh then multiple storms in Bundoran, Donegal, and ending the day to the S of Omagh, the storms we encountered were back-building very high precip cells which produced hours of intense torrential rainfall, road flooding, and frequent thunder and lightning then climaxing with significant rotation and an all-sky whale's mouth display. One page report with 16 images & 1 video clip.
June 8th 2014 was the second of four days in a row of storm chasing with high instability storms boasting 1300-1500 CAPE and LIs of -4 and -5. We ended up chasing across the midlands of N. Ireland with particular focus on the lines of nasty storms between Cookstown and Omagh in Co. Tyrone which produced torrential rain, dangerous and frequent close range cloud to ground lightning and an all-sky whale's mouth display. The highlight of the day was the big storm over the Omagh Road with green precip core which dropped hail stones larger than marbles accompanied by pink c-gs which made for a thrilling chase across the countryside. One page report with 15 images & 1 video clip.
June 7th 2014 was the first of four days in a row of thunderstorms across parts of Ireland and N. Ireland. This was a very successful storm chase day with 12 & 1/2 hours on the road in a very unstable environment loaded with 1300-1500 CAPE and LIs between -4 and -5 which produced intense thunderstorms which we intercepted at the Mullaghmore coastline in Co. Sligo. We got treated to beautiful thunderstorms over the ocean in full sunshine with close range lightning followed by a high based funnel cloud. I also caught my first ever daytime lightning bolt on camera making this a thrilling day to remember. One page report with 13 images & time lapse video footage.
Best chase of the 2014 season to date when my girlfriend and I documented a spectacular convergence zone thunderstorm from Brenbradagh Mountain outside Dungiven on May 26th. We experienced the entire life cycle of this strong thunderstorm for over two hours without having to move position once while staying completely dry in sunshine as the storm grew and evolved rite before our eyes producing a funnel cloud, close c-g lightning, and the best shelf cloud and storm structure I have seen for years. Also included is a funnel cloud over Donegal Bay captured by my Dad from Rossnowlagh on the very same day. Report with 21 images & 2 video clips.
Account covering several storm chases in the local area starting on May 10th 2014 when my girlfriend and I chased in Cookstown intercepting a storm near the carriageway which moved over Lough Neagh producing lightning, the day was notable for its widespread convection, dramatic cloudscapes & HP showers. The report continues from May 13th on a day when nothing significant was anticipated until I was surprised by a slender funnel cloud which appeared at close range near my home while spinning over the Coleraine road from a tall updraught which grew over the Maghera area marking my first funnel catch of 2014. One page report with 16 images & 2 video clips.
Detailed report documenting four days of long distance storm chasing between April 23rd and April 30th 2014 covering 40 hours of chasing to Fermanagh, Leitrim & Sligo in pursuit of early season thunderstorms. The report documents various road scenes including several busts, however highlights include the high based hail producing cell in Fermanagh and the stunning unexpected sun pillar and sunset event on the Omagh road outside Cookstown which made the trip a success. One page report with 15 images & 3 video clips.
Awesome all-night photo shoot in Co. Fermanagh on March 11th 2014 photographing the beautiful 17th century Monea castle located on the W side of Lower Lough Erne along with photographer Paul Martin. The castle provided an excellent photo opportunity on the clearest night of the year bathed in brilliant moonlight and surrounded with stars aloft before becoming engulfed in eerie pre-dawn moonlit fog. Wonderful photo shoot on an extremely atmospheric night and a location in which we will no doubt be visiting again in the future. One page report with 15 images.
The finest aurora display I have witnessed in over a decade announced itself in the evening sky after sunset on Feb 27th 2014 when a CME delivered a glancing blow which generated a stunning G2 geomagnetic storm. The aurora almost reached the zenith with striking green and red colours with extremely rare orange rays which gave the impression of a crimson veil or glowing fire in the sky, even the frost on the ground was glowing red. This report documents in detail the events leading up to this storm beginning with a storm chase to the Antrim coast then the rapid dash south where I met up with Paul Martin and Jude Browne at Beaghmore stone circles and Lough Fea in Co. Tyrone where we watched in awe as the aurora went into outburst, this was a night we will never forget. One page report with 14 images.
Feb 14th 2014 was an action-packed afternoon on Glenshane Pass when my Dad and I were involved in a que packed with several hundred vehicles with spun-out trucks trapped in the snow and ice on this famous winter road. This was quickly followed that very same night by a photo shoot to Glenariff Forest Park in Co. Antrim where photographer Paul Martin and I photographed the beautiful waterfalls under the surreal light of an almost full moon which made for a magical and eerie experience. One page report with 14 images.
Epic 13 hour Winter photo shoot with Paul Martin documenting beautiful moonlit snow scenes on Glenshane Pass where we photographed an old derelict stone house covered in glorious moonlit snow with stars accompanied by a 5ft snow drift. This was followed by an adventure through the stunning snow-covered Coleraine Road outside Maghera then ending the night shooting the famous Swatragh church and graveyard covered in magical pre-dawn snow. Two page report with 31 images & 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2
My longest write up to date documenting three night time storm chases along the Co. Antrim coast On Dec 16th and 19th then climaxing on Dec 21st with an epic all-night dusk to dawn photo shoot with a film crew from Alleycats TV recording my every move for a new BBC television program called 'The Longest Night'. The report documents this thrilling adventure from Downhill Beach to Dunluce Castle then peaking before dawn at Ballintoy Harbour as we battled with the wind, rain, sleet & snow to get rewarded with wonderful scenes of moonlit waves, convection and a shadow-casting Iridium Flare with stunning episodes of ocean lightning as the Atlantic raged all night long making for a truly unforgettable night. One page report with 35 images.
Stunning all night photo shoot on Glenshane Pass and Benbradagh mountain in Dungiven on November 18th/19th 2013 where Paul Martin and I spent over 9 hours photographing moonlit snow and stars during the first taste of Winter when a brief Arctic blast brought the first high level snow of the season to N. Ireland. Visually it was an epic night standing under the stars in a -8 degree C wind chill with constant snow showers, convection, and even rare thundersnow while the white mountain landscape glowed like Narnia under the surreal moonlight.
Thrilling aurora shoot at the north coast of N. Ireland on Halloween Eve 2013 when a CME associated with an M-class solar flare hit Earth's magnetic field a glancing blow increasing geomagnetic activity. However once the IMF tilted south a major aurora outburst unfolded across the ocean horizon which last for 15-20 min's, the outburst was over 40 degrees high and exhibited remarkable ray activity which I observed with Paul Martin and another photographer. I photographed the stunning visual apparition over the famous Mussenden Temple above Downhill Beach. This outburst made up for the entire year making for an unforgettable Halloween experience. One page report with 5 images & 1 video blog.
A fun and challenging night on the north coast of N. Ireland on October 9th/10th 2013 with photographer Paul Martin shooting a CME-induced faint aurora display over the famous ruins of Mussenden Temple near Downhill Beach captured in harsh conditions due to gale force winds. This was my 114th aurora sighting and although it was faint it was still lovely to witness from this magical location up close and personal with this historic building at night. One page report with 3 images.
One of the most thrilling and rewarding storm chases I have ever experienced on August 1st 2013 in the hunt for supercells and tornadoes. Paul Martin and I chased to the W coast of Ireland in Co. Sligo and as darkness fell over Mullaghmore we got treated to an epic 2 hour lightning display from a line of massive severe thunderstorm cells located over 80 miles away over the ocean. We counted more than 500 lightning bolts of every variety and were stunned by anvil crawlers which illuminated mammatus, anvils and overshooting tops with the entire storm structures lit up from within and surrounded by stars making for an incredible night of action. This was the climax of the current thundery breakdown with 1175 miles covered and 22 hours on location. One page report with 28 images & 1 video slide show.
Short report covering thunderstorm encounters over Belfast city on the weekend of July 28th and 29th 2013. The report documents a massive storm on the 28th which we attempted to chase, this storm went on to produce severe flooding in Magherafelt and Draperstown. The highlight however was the late evening thunderstorm over S. Belfast on the 29th which sported the most dramatic thunderstorm updraught base I have ever seen as it passed over the rooftops of city homes before sunset with churning motion and thunder. One page report with 9 images and 2 extensive video clips.
A fun local storm chase on July 26th 2013 when my Dad and I chased a beautiful single cell thunderstorm through the countryside between Swatragh and Garvagh which had lovely cloud structure while sporting a very concentrated and intense precip core with rare 'rain foot' outflow feature which looked fantastic over the sunlit fields. The chase ended with a high based funnel cloud over the same area followed by another storm encounter over Glenshane Pass where I later learned a possible tornado may have touched down. This was my fifth day in a row of storm chasing. One page report with 12 images and 1 video clip.
My longest storm report to date covering a remarkable period of weather between July and early August 2013 featuring a two week heat wave followed by another two weeks of thunderstorms. This was an intense period of chasing every day with little sleep and almost 1200 miles covered including multiple trips to Fermanagh, BBC filming, and documenting the entire emotional roller coaster ride which I experienced with busts and thrills in equal measure. The report is centred on the July 25th chase when Paul Martin and I chased a severe thunderstorm all across the country which produced car-shaking thunder and close range lightning making for an epic storm chase adventure. One page report with 29 images & 3 video clips.
N. Ireland was in the middle of a heat wave and I was meant to be storm chasing on June 5th 2013 when I got distracted on the road by distant smoke so I changed my plans and chased after this instead. In the Co. Tyrone area between Omagh and Cookstown I encountered the largest inland gorse fire of the season which would rage all day long extending 5 miles in length and battled by 50 fire fighters. The fire was nasty and exhibited spectacular smoke plumes which generated rare pyrocumulus clouds followed by rotating smokenadoes, if this wasn't enough I also observed a horse shoe vortex and 3 dust devils near Beaghmore Stone Circles making for an action packed, exciting, and very hot photo shoot. One page report with 25 images and 1 video clip.
On May 28th 2013 I completed my second storm chase to Co. Fermanagh which turned out to be my longest chase to date with 150 miles done and 11 hours on the road. The chase was an absolute success when I captured a large convergence zone funnel cloud in the direction of Enniskillen at 15.00 which lasted for 5 min's in duration. During the evening I met up with chaser Paul Martin and together we observed 3 more funnel clouds over Omagh which brought the count to 4 funnel captures in a single day. This was a great road trip with excellent weather and wonderful scenery. One page report with 15 images and 1 video clip.
A fantastic all night photo shoot at the Co. Antrim coast with Paul Martin from dusk until dawn. What started out as an uninspiring overcast NLC and aurora hunt turned into an atmospheric Dunluce Castle shoot followed by a spectacular sunrise which took us completely by surprise. We observed and photographed the spectacle from the vast cliff tops outside Portrush where we watched with awe as the much of the sky was covered in stunning vivid red, pink, yellow, blue and gold colours which seemed to last for an eternity which then climaxed with the sun's disk slowly climbing over the flat ocean horizon casting the ocean into a heavenly gold colour. This was the best sunrise any of us had ever seen which made for an unforgettable experience. One page report with 16 images and 1 video clip.
Large report which begins with some of my early comet memories followed by the discovery and massive build up to the 2013 C/2011 L4 Pan-STARRS comet apparition. This report documents the hardships as I battled against cold and cloudy skies in search of this exciting new visitor which took me from Cookstown to Glenshane Pass and from frustration and sadness to spectacular thrills as the hunt climaxed with two unforgettable nights shooting this beautiful comet over the Co. Antrim coast with the amazing Pan-STARRS and M31 close conjunction showing off over the Giant's Causeway and Dunluce Castle. 34 images & 1 video clip
Historic extreme Winter weather event across N. Ireland during March 2013 when stalling Atlantic frontal systems encountered freezing air from Europe which resulted in 36-48hrs of continuous snowfall with gales producing blizzard conditions which produced the worst snow storm for 50 years with power lines disabled, ice storms, blizzards, massive snow drifts & the death of over 10,000 Sheep and Lambs. This report covers the amazing blowing snow on Glenshane Pass then the aftermath at Dungiven, Lough Fea and the Sperrins where I encountered incredible 20ft deep snow drifts, deep ploughed snow on the roads, and icicle displays. One page report with 31 images & 3 video clips.
Winter 2013 Part 2 - Detailed image report covering the period from Jan 31st to Feb 5th following various chases through Maghera, Gulladuff, along the Co. Antrim coast, then Glenshane pass. During this period I chased severe Winter weather and intercepted powerful day and night squalls of hail, snow, and sea foam accompanied by violent gusts of wind followed by a display of hundreds of icicles and glaze ice on the Sperrins - the second such time this dramatic spectacle has happened within 14 days - and observed distant thundersnow cells. One page report with 17 images & 4 video clips
Day 5 part 2 of the current severe Winter weather event in N. Ireland on Jan 22nd 2013. I spent the afternoon hiking up the steep snow-covered slopes of Benbradagh along the Sperrin Mountains outside Dungiven when after days of overcast skies the clouds parted to reveal a stunning Winter landscape with bright sunlit snow-covered mountain and crisp blue skies aloft contrasting with dark snow clouds and blowing fog over the beautiful summit which made for an unforgettable experience. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip.
Day 5 part 1 of the current severe Winter weather event in N. Ireland on Jan 22nd 2013. After encountering heavy snowfalls, freezing fog, and hoar frost I suddenly encountered a remarkable sight on the main road along Glenshane Pass. Hanging from the mountain cliffs where literally hundreds of massive icicles and slabs of ice covering the rocks, grass, and blending into the snow drifts. I measured one icicle at 3ft in length & 5"-6" thick of solid clear ice making for a truly insane Winter experience which made for an unforgettable day. One page report with 19 images and 1 video clip.
Day 2 part 2 of the severe Winter cold spell affecting N. Ireland on January 19th 2013. After spending the entire day with my girlfriend driving in snow we later met up with my Dad and his friend at last light and went for a long walk through the beautiful snow-covered conifer and pine trees in Glenshane Forest which made for a very special memory. The experience of the heavy snow causing the vast tree branches to sag combined with the absolute silence and freezing temps in eerie light made for a wonderful experience. One page report with 10 images and 1 video clip.
Day 1, day 2 part 1, and day 3 of the severe Winter cold spell affecting N. Ireland from Jan 18th to Jan 21st 2013. This extensive report covers many trips across the Sperrins at Glenshane Pass and Dungiven which features a blizzard, blowing snow, 4.5ft snow drifts, glaze ice, 1ft long icicles and snow rime ice complete with snow road scenes. Two page report with 32 images and 3 video clips. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
Big report featuring my last two storm chases of 2012 on December 29th & New Year's Eve which I spent with Roisin at the north coast during stormy weather where we experienced several moonbows and an abundance of beautiful photogenic moonlit ocean storm cells and hail showers from Ballintoy and Downhill Beach. Report also includes a 2012 highlight slideshow covering all the year's best sky action. One page report with 27 images.
Detailed report covering three night shoots at the Co. Antrim coast from November 20th to 23rd 2012 featuring a surprise faint aurora, a bright moon halo and encounter with a family of Seals with the highlight being two days and nights of filming with the BBC's The One Show crew at Ballintoy Harbour where Hannah Hoare, Marty Jopson, Michael Quinn, David Kilpatrick and I battled with cold weather and lack of sleep to catch an aurora display over the ocean on a magical moonlit night. One page report with 20 images and 1 video clip.
Short image report documenting a fun photo shoot of the famous Toome bridge at night complete with car trails on November 6th 2012 using the phenomenal Canon 10-22mm ultra wide angle lens which I currently have on loan from my Dad. My shortest report to date however it may be of interest to those who wish to pursue car trail photography or who are considering purchasing an ultra wide angle lens for their crop sensor DSLR. One page report with 3 images.
On October 8th 2012 a CME and solar wind stream impacted Earth's magnetic field generating a KP6 long duration G2 geomagnetic storm with mid latitudes on red alert. After a brief battle with clouds my girlfriend and I drove to the north coast where we watched a vivid green aurora band with several ray producing outbursts over the famous Mussenden Temple, Downhill Estate, and Downhill Beach in Co. Derry. One page report with 16 images.
On October 3rd 2012 after feeling fed up from being house bound by a flu I decided to go out on a much needed night time photo shoot to Ballintoy Harbour on the Co. Antrim coast where I got treated to a beautiful night of moonlit convection, hail showers, stars over Roark's Cottage, and moonbows followed later by a rare sighting of eight Seals from Dunseverick Harbour on October 7th. One page report with 12 images.
On Saturday September 8th 2012 my girlfriend and I spent a fun day at the Portrush International Airshow at the Co. Antrim coast. The photographic highlights included a Royal Marine Commando beach assault and The Red Arrows which looked stunning against the late afternoon blue sky before their display was cancelled due to technical issues. This was followed by a beautiful ocean sunset at Portballintrae and a faint aurora display. One page report with 19 images.
Detailed report documenting several storm chases between Aug 16th and 21st 2012 from severe thunderstorms with great structure and epic updraughts including supercell characteristics sporting constant thunder over Antrim to a beautiful sunset over Belfast followed by more severe thunderstorms and a significant funnel cloud/possible tornado over Co. Antrim and ending with a line of majestic storm cells across the dusk skyline. One page report with 29 images and 2 video clips.
August 4th 2012 brought widespread thunderstorms across the UK however in N. Ireland what looked to be a promising day was suddenly handicapped by a strong capping inversion which stopped storm formation. During the late afternoon the cap suddenly broke producing several late thunderstorms across the country. This report features images of a photogenic explosive cell near Maghera which developed within min's producing a rare high based funnel cloud. One page report with 7 images.
Extensive report featuring a complex atmospheric optics display around the sun with complete parhelic circle at Portballintrae on July 25th followed by June 2nd early season Noctilucent Cloud images however the main feature of this update is focused on a dramatic and photogenic thunderstorm cluster which passed over the golden sunlit wheat fields in the Maghera countryside on July 30th. One page report with 13 images and 2 video clips.
Detailed report covering three days and nights of sky photography from storm chasing on July 11th in the Cookstown/Desertmartin area to the north coast Peace Camp installation as part of the London 2012 Festival on July 19th at White Park Bay beach and ending with a night time photo shoot of Mussenden Temple and Downhill Estate on July 21st with stars and Milky Way which made for a memorable Summer night. One page report with 14 images and 1 video clip.
Extensive account covering a significant two day outbreak of mulitcell thunderstorms which caused severe flooding over Co. Antrim on June 27th followed by a 8+ hour storm chase on June 28th with Omagh chaser Paul Martin documenting a fun day's weather action in the Mid-Ulster area which resulted in several good storm intercepts at Lough Neagh from Ballyronan Marina and the surrounding area. One page report with 14 images and 1 video clip.
June 6th 2012 was an ideal chase day with 1000 CAPE, LIs of -3 in a post frontal air mass with slack SWly flow. I chased twice this day, the first during the early afternoon when I spotted towering cumulus which directed me to a dry cell which produced a small funnel cloud directly over Lough Neagh observed from Ballyronan Marina which appeared on three occasions during a half hour period. This was followed by several intercepts during the afternoon in the local countryside and another late evening chase to the lough once again in pursuit of southern cells. One page report with 10 images and 1 video clip.
A truly epic night on April 23rd/24th 2012 spent at the Co. Antrim coast where Roisin and I watched a jaw-dropping KP6 geomagnetic storm which generated an intense outbursting long duration aurora display which we observed from the legendary Giant's Causeway and from the magical Ballintoy Harbour. The aurora produced multicoloured vertical beams over 60 degrees high and could be seen reflecting on the ocean while exhibiting breathtaking flaming forms of rapid speed which words fail to describe. One page report with 14 images.
Friday the 13th 2012 began wet, cloudy, and cold, there was no convective forecast issued and with only 200 CAPE and positive LIs it looked to be just a cold day with showers. However all that changed during the late afternoon when my girlfriend and I went for a walk in the countryside where we encountered a line of developing towering cumulus clouds which suddenly produced an obvious dark funnel cloud over the sunlit fields which we could see rotating for 10 min's in duration. The funnel itself was almost 10 miles away and located near Kilrea. So much for bad luck on Friday the 13th!. One page report with 7 images.
Documenting three days of storm chasing with attention focused on April 11th 2012 when by chance we intercepted two massive storm cells crossing Lough Neagh as seen from Antrim Marina. These cells had solid anvils almost the size of the Lough itself some 20 miles in length making for the largest cells I have ever seen for the month of April so far, these where observed as a significant sight even from 50 miles away. The climax was an explosive updraught over the Marina which looked like the plume from a volcanic eruption which made for a very exciting and photogenic day. One page report with 14 images and 1 video clip.
Detailed image report covering three days and nights of photography at the Co. Antrim coast documenting the Moon-Venus-Jupiter triple conjunction and climaxing on March 27th with a spectacular night in the company of Paul Martin watching a surprise aurora display over the ancient rock formations in the ocean between Ballintoy Harbour and White Park Bay beach where we watched an aurora for over six hours which produced two outbursts with beams reaching 50 degrees high making this a truly unforgettable night. This was the best aurora I had seen since 2005. One page report with 13 images and a image slideshow.
St. Patrick's evening March 17th 2012. My girlfriend and I spent a magical night at the famous Giant's Causeway at the Co. Antrim coast under a pitch black sky where we enjoyed the wonderful glow of the Zodiacal Light along with the stunning Venus-Jupiter conjunction with their glitter path cast across the ocean surface followed by the faintest aurora I had ever seen. These phenomena viewed above the legendary 60 million year old rocks made for an experience never to be forgotten. One page report with 6 images.
February 18th 2012 was my birthday so I celebrated in style by going on a local storm chase with my girlfriend across the high ground of Glenshane Pass to take advantage of an early season unstable post frontal air mass with weak inland CAPE. We spent the day chasing hail and snow showers followed by a late evening shoot of a beautiful conjunction between planets Venus and Jupiter followed by a late night surprise aurora display which kept me busy until 04.00 the following morning making for a fun and action-packed birthday. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip.
On January 19th 2012 sunspot 1401 unleashed a strong solar flare and large CME which was heading directly towards Earth. This report documents two nights of aurora chasing with my girlfriend to the Co. Antrim coast hunting for the aurora borealis. The 48 hour watch was a success with auroras observed on both nights, however the night of Jan 22nd produced the best show of the weekend with a vivid green aurora display glowing over the sea which we watched from the famous coastline at Ballintoy Harbour. One page report with 9 images.
On Dec 28th 2011 I had a great chase to the Antrim coast at Ballintoy Harbour with my girlfriend to document a severe Atlantic storm where we experienced 70-80mph wind gusts, massive waves, a surreal high velocity foam blizzard, and a dusk mammatus display during my last storm chase of 2011. A successful, frightening, and thrilling day with car troubles which added to the adventure. One page report with 12 images and 1 youtube highlight slide show video covering a year of sky action.
Detailed image report covering three days and nights of storm photography between Dec 4th and 7th 2011. During this period my girlfriend and I intercepted night time convective cells at the Co. Antrim coast, enjoyed a surreal moonlit beach walk with blowing sand like the Sahara Desert and drove through heavy snow storms followed by the first laying snow of the year on Glenshane Pass with moonlit snow images with stars from the same location during the night making for a great period of adventure. One page report with 19 images and 1 video clip.
On November 29th/30th I spent a rewarding night at the Co. Antrim coast where I spent over 8 hours chasing. I ended up having a thrilling time at Ballintoy fishing harbour under pristine dark skies where I battled with squalls of rain and sleet, gale force gusts of wind, and enjoyed lightning flashing over the sea from a thunderstorm 30 miles away between the coast and Scotland. This was followed by a starscape-cottage photo shoot and ending with a faint aurora display over the sea which made for an unforgettable night's adventure. One page report with 14 images.
October 17th and 18th 2011 produced two days in a row of wild Autumn weather across much of UK and Ireland with tornado potential. On the 17th an active cold front produced a squall line with a LEWP which delivered a tornado over Britain along with a record early snowfall over Glenshane Pass. On the 18th I chased coastal storms in nasty conditions with gale force winds and hail showers at the Co. Antrim coast where I captured a suspicious lowering from an ocean cell which may have been a possible funnel cloud or waterspout behind Magilligan Point some 10 miles away from where I was standing. The case is still open but it made for an interesting chase day and further inspiration to get hunting more coastal twisters. One page report with 3 images.
Friday Sept 16th was an exciting day after a severe forecast was issued by UKASF for N. Ireland with a threat of strong wind gusts, 2cm hail and tornadoes. An occluded front produced a tornado over Clogherhead, Co. Louth before midday. By the afternoon I was chasing post-frontal cells in a sheared environment, my 1st chase was a damp squib however I was almost caught off guard later when a large cell moved over my home town of Maghera producing torrential rain and a large rotating wall cloud which produced a very close range funnel accompanied by other regions of rotation and scuddy vortices as the cell passed over homes before vanishing over the countryside making this the closest I have ever got to a tornado touch down. One page report with 11 images.
Spectacular night spent in the Maghera countryside hunting for lunar rainbows with the waning full moon in the E and trains of convective showers feeding in from the W which provided the perfect ingredients for their formation. During a 1.5 hour period I observed and photographed 7 sets of moonbows with some of the finest examples I have ever seen to date with vivid colours in the primary bow complimented by secondary arcs and even rare lunar supernumerary arcs making for one of the most satisfying and rewarding moonbow hunts I have ever undertaken. One page report with 16 images.
On Friday evening, August 26th 2011, I attended the annual 'Festival of Lights' event at Ballyronan Marina on the NW shore of Lough Neagh with my girlfriend and sister where we enjoyed a thrilling fireworks display. The light show looked visually stunning against a lovely clear blue dusk sky which made for a great atmosphere while a large crowd composed of families and children looked-on as fireworks exploded overhead from a floating launch boat with their brilliant reflections illuminating the calm water below. One page report with 8 images.
On July 10th 2011 the most spectacular Noctilucent Cloud display of the season appeared during evening twilight and remained visible all through the night as a shadow-casting type 5 display. My girlfriend and I observed and photographed the spectacle from the North Antrim coast outside Portrush where we watched in awe as the electric blue NLCs glowed above the famous 17th century ruins of Dunluce Castle. The NLCs could be seen reflecting on the calm Atlantic Ocean while complex NLC whirls, bands, waves and lacunosus holes moved in real time which made for a surreal Summer's night. Also included are two images of Runkerry House at dusk. One page report with 14 images.
On July 7th 2011 an unstable post frontal airmass associated with an unseasonal deep Atlantic low generated almost 1000 CAPE and LIs of -3 across N. Ireland in conjunction with troughs and convergence zones. The Met Office had a yellow warning issued for flooding and a severe thunderstorm watch was issued online. During the afternoon Declan O'Doherty and I intercepted the best storm of the day over the Glenshane Road with a menacing black shelf cloud with c-g lightning which knocked out the power in 40,000 homes across N. Ireland. One page report with 9 images and 1 video clip.
July 6th 2011 turned out to be a day of unexpected surprises. After the first half of the day spent chasing around the Atlantic coast in search of funnel clouds and thunderstorms I returned home during the late afternoon with nothing to show for the chase except another wasted fuel payment. On the way home I spotted several isolated cells over my home town of Maghera and within min's of arriving at my house I spotted the first of four funnel clouds within a 35 min period rotating over the Maghera-Glenshane Pass area associated with sudden multicell storm development which made the day a success. One page report with 8 images.
June 7th 2011 was the best chase day of the year when Declan O' Doherty and I intercepted a line of multicell storms over the mid Ulster area in a 900 CAPE environment which interacted with a significant convergence zone which resulted in a rotating updraught base and a beautiful funnel cloud rotating over the lush fields of Knockloughrim not far from the main Glenshane Road. The storm went on to produced several hours of lightning and delivered an intense hail storm which covered the roads like a layer of snow. A thrilling day of high rewards, good storm structure and a vortex which almost touched down as a tornado. One page report with 14 images and 2 video clips.
On May 9th 2011 N. Ireland experienced its biggest thunderstorm outbreak in years when trains of multicell storms crossed the country producing hundreds of lightning strikes in a sheared atmosphere with 1000-1200 CAPE and LIs of -4. I intercepted four major thunderstorms, three of which where over the Glenshane Pass where severe multicell storms produced an abundance of pink lightning and spectacular whale's mouth displays. The highlight was severe storm number three which I chased across Glenshane with BBC Newsline weather presenter Jackie McCann which produced regular lightning and a HP core with the worst hail downpour I have ever encountered. Unforgettable action-packed day for so early in the season. One page report with 20 images and 3 video clips.
On April 26th 2011 one hundred gorse fires broke out over N. Ireland with the largest on Glenshane Pass which lasted for hours spanning 4km in length. Sixty fire fighters from six different stations battled with the blaze on a hot afternoon and finally subdued the fire into submission. The scene was dramatic, exciting, and concerning, especially so since this major gorse fire was started deliberately. The 2011 gorse fire season has been the worst in living memory with a record breaking number of fires and emergency calls to fire crews. One page report with 15 images and one video clip.
Image report documenting the first inland thunderstorms of the 2011 season when numerous cells formed across the country during the afternoon hours. The main event was the multicell storm over N. Ireland extending for tens of miles from Maghera to the N coast with strong precip cores and periodic c-g lightning. The storm knocked out the power, triggered car alarms, and exhibited rapid rotation under the flanking area. The highlight was the view of the huge anvil against a rich blue sky. This was a fun local chase with Conor McDonald and Declan O'Doherty. One page report with 8 images and 1 video clip.
Epic night at the Co. Antrim coast on March 1st 2011 when a high speed solar wind stream hit Earth generating a G1 geomagnetic storm and long duration mid latitude aurora display. Conor McDonald and I spent hours watching the aurora over the dark Atlantic Ocean near the famous shoreline and ancient ruins of Dunluce Castle which made for an unforgettable adventure. One page report with 4 images.
Feb 14th 2011 was an eventful day which produced two exciting transient events. The first was an afternoon snow shower over Maghera which dropped snow flakes the size of tennis balls! then after dark a CME associated with an M6.6 M-class flare from AR1158 produced a beautiful aurora display which I watched from the Glenshane Pass with Conor McDonald and Declan O'Doherty. The view of the green aurora with bright moonlit snow below was a real treat making this the first significant mid latitude aurora display of 2011. One page report with 6 images and 1 video clip
The second severe cold spell within a week making this the most extreme early Winter period on record. In N. Ireland we had the worst snowfall in 25 years and an emergency weather warning issued by the Met Office due to heavy snow showers, freezing fog, widespread ice and even thundersnow. Temps fell to a new Dec record of - 18 degrees C with day time temps at sub zero values. On Dec 19th 2010 I spent the afternoon near the Grillagh River outside Maghera photographing a remarkable formation of thick hoar frost the likes of which I have never seen before. One page report with 11 images.
Third image report documenting day 14 of the severe Winter weather outbreak which affected much of Ireland and Britain. Dec 8th was the last significant day before a major thaw when I visited the NW shore of Lough Neagh at Ballyronan Marina where I was astonished to see that a large section of the Lough had completely frozen over with ice and snow for the second time within 11 months. This is quite exceptional since the last major freeze here pre 2010 was 50-60 years ago which indicates just how severe things have turned this year. One page report with 15 images.
Severe Winter weather hit much of Ireland and UK during November generating unseasonal but intense snow showers, record breaking freezing temps, ice and snow accumulations, and travel disruption. The highlight was six days and nights of thundersnow which lit up the sky over E Ireland. This report documents my experience with the epic November 26th and 27th all-night thundersnow display which I watched with awe from Glenshane Pass and Maghera some 60-70 miles from the storms themselves. This was a magical night with bright stars, moonlit snow, and flashing thunderstorms. One page report with 14 images.
November has been a very active month with no less than three Atlantic storms affecting many parts of Ireland and UK with severe gales, power failures, and flooding. Not much photogenic weather was observed until the 18th when after three days of dull skies and rain the sky cleared before sunset revealing a beautiful mammatus display under the anvil of a cell near Maghera sporting huge udders and dramatic cloud structure. One page report with 11 images.
Amazing night spent at the north coast of Co. Antrim on November 1st and 2nd watching night time thunderstorms flashing over the dark Atlantic Ocean between N. Ireland and Scotland followed by a possible severe thunderstorm which tracked along the NW and N coastal regions putting on a stunning lightning show with c-g and I-c bolts lighting up the night sky like day time while most of the country slept. This night may have produced one or even two supercell storms in that area. This report documents my 6 hour drive chasing the spectacular show making this my longest and most thrilling solo chase to date. Unfortunately this was not an image success but more of a memorable visual experience so this report mostly contains words. One page report with 11 images.
I had a great chase on Tuesday October 5th 2010 when I intercepted an organised long-lived thunderstorm in a highly sheared environment outside Coagh. The storm produced c-g lightning, loud thunder, and intense rain/hail with gusty winds as it passed through into the direction of Antrim. I chased after it and got treated to a small but well defined funnel cloud which rotated for 5 min's between Ballyronan and Toome accompanied by mammatus and double rainbow!. The lightning also blew a hole in the roof of a house in Newry, Co. Down that same afternoon. A very successful and rewarding chase day. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip.
A 'various' account featuring images taken between Aug 21st and Sept 16th 2010 covering numerous local storm chases, heavy convective showers, flooding, rainbows, Moonbows, Moondogs, and even an encounter with an irate farmer. One page report with 14 images and 4 video clips including a 2007-2010 image highlight slide show featuring three years worth of storms, cool clouds, Moonbows, NLCs, Auroras, floods, snow, blizzards, and various day/night optical phenomena.
Summer of 2010 ended with a bang when active thunderstorms broke out over many parts of N. Ireland on Sept 22nd. I spent the entire day chasing in Maghera, Lavy, Toome, Magherafelt, Castledawson, Ballyronan and had a great view of countless high quality cells, on occasion 3 or 4 at a time which made decision making difficult. Strong inflow motion and rotation was also observed, there was even a brief night storm. Content includes a storm over Lough Neagh and distance cells while on the road, a possible small funnel cloud, and converging cells near Maghera. One page report with 17 images.
The 2010 Noctilucent Cloud season was a rather disappointing show this year however several nights do stand out as being exceptional. The highlight was the night of June 16th which produced the finest display of the Summer when Conor McDonald and I did an all-night photo shoot capturing a type 4.5 electric blue NLC display glowing above the famous illuminated Toome Bridge over the River Bann. This was a night of high photogenic reward and a majestic experience which I shall never forget. One page report with 11 images and one slide show.
August 18th was an interesting day despite several atmospheric handicaps such as CIN, lack of convergence, and wind shear. Despite this, 600-800 CAPE and LIs of -3 made for an active day in response to solar heating and a trough crossing the country which produced thunderstorms across central and E areas of N. Ireland. Declan O'Doherty and I spent the day chasing from Maghera to Ardboe on the W side of Lough Neagh and intercepted 3 storms which produced 14 rumbles of thunder in the local area which made for a fun and successful chase. One page report with 10 images.
On August 9th 2010 I chased a huge multicell thunderstorm located over the Atlantic Ocean near Portrush, Co. Antrim during the late afternoon. The cell was so large that its main updraught tower could be seen all the way from back home in Maghera. Interception took place at White Rocks beach where I watched a nasty gust front approach the beach with intense precip core which produced 5 c-g bolts over the Sea. This was followed by another storm with the remainder of the evening spent chasing along the N coast watching large convection/cells exploding over the water. The day ended with dramatic storm clouds moving inland at Portballintrae making this a very successful chase as these where the only storms to fire in NI this day. One page report with 22 images and 1 video clip.
On Wed July 21st major thunderstorms broke out across the E side of N. Ireland in response to high instability, multiple convergence zones, and a trough. I spent the day chasing to the NE of Lough Neagh in Co. Antrim where I intercepted three thunderstorms. The highlight was watching a convergence line of the biggest and most explosive convection of the year including a beautiful photogenic line of cells over the Antrim countryside with the highest cloud tops I have seen since 2009. This was a great visual and photogenic day with torrential rain, hail, flooding, and booming thunder. Two page report with 20 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
On July 14th and 15th the best thunderstorms of the year broke out across Ireland/N. Ireland in a very unstable airmass. The results were hundreds of c-gs and funnel clouds. Unfortunately we busted badly on both days and missed the main storms, however it was not all bad. On the 14th we got treated to our most explosive convection of the year so far followed by night t-storms from the N coast and an outflow boundary, booming thunder, and torrential rain on the 15th. This report documents both days. One page report with 18 images and 1 video clip.
June 5th turned out to be our very best storm chase of the year to date. Despite being a low CAPE day there was significant convergence, moisture, and shear to develop isolated strong convection over N. Ireland. During the evening Conor McDonald and I chased and intercepted a massive thunderstorm with a Mesocyclone (rotating updraught) over Lough Neagh which was rotating for over 1 hour with numerous lowerings and funnel spin-ups. We had a perfect view from the Lough shore at the Battery Harbour where we experienced our best storm structure of the year!. Two page report with 25 images and 1 video clip. PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
One of the best severe weather events I've experienced in N. Ireland so far. On Thursday April 29th 2010 Conor McDonald and I independently experienced a multi vortex funnel/tornadic event from the rear of a large cell which arrived over the Sperrin Mountains and moved eastward across the Maghera countryside. The cell produced three areas of simultaneous violently rotating vortices which passed me at close range lasting for over 20 min's in duration. This was spectacular since no convective forecast had been issued. Two page image account with 18 images and 1 video clip - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
An extreme snow storm hit N. Ireland on March 30th/31st 2010 when an Atlantic low encountered polar air from the north which produced an epic snow storm over the Glenshane Pass where motorists experienced gale force winds, blizzards, white-outs, -30 C temps, ice storms, and huge snowdrifts. Over 300 people where trapped on this famous Pass where a rescue operation insued while thousands of homes went without electricity. This account covers the 48hrs centred on the main event when Conor McDonald and I experienced our most extreme Winter weather to date. Two page report with 27 images and 2 video clips - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
The UK/Ireland Winter of 2009/2010 has been the most severe in decades. Thanks to frigid air from the Arctic then Siberia we ended up getting almost three weeks of nasty Winter weather in the form of snow, sleet, freezing rain, freezing fog, ice days with sub zero temps, and nights which dropped to a phenomenal - 20 C. As a result many of the Rivers and Lakes in the country froze over for the first time in my life. On Sunday Jan 10th 2010 I spent the day documenting the extreme freeze over a large section of Lough Neagh at Ballyronan Marina, N. Ireland which fast became the climax of this extreme event for me. Report with 25 images and 2 video clips - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
August has been a wild month for bad weather over N. Ireland. Yet another warm front crossed over the country followed by two cold fronts due to a low pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean. The unstable airmass behind the last front was expected to produced thunderstorm activity on August 20th. After an uninspiring start the day turned into a success when I encountered a growing storm with nasty gust front over Toome followed by a second over Ballyronan Marina. Both of these produced intense rain, hail, powerful wind squalls, and lightning over the E side of the basin with a dramatic drop in temp. This was certainly a wild weather day. One page report with 18 images and 1 video clip.
July 21st 2009 turned out to be yet another action-packed storm day over N. Ireland when the latest GFS 18z run upgraded the set-up to 1000 CAPE and LI of -4. Between 18.00 - 19.30 BST I observed and photographed five multicell thunderstorms which passed over Maghera and the Sperrins from the S producing pink c-g and i-c lightning, low level bases, and intense precipitation curtains while thunder rumbled across the mountains making for one of those classic Summer Thunderstorm events. One page report with 18 images.
July 15th was yet another exciting storm day across N. Ireland with strong instability and a series of troughs and convergence zones which were expected to produce strong thunderstorms during prime heating time. The day began with a nice thunderstorm over NE Maghera followed by a chase to Ballyronan Marina where we observed a well defined funnel cloud for 15 min's duration and a nasty storm over the NW shore of Lough Neagh itself. Two page report with 30 images and 2 video clips. PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
July 14th 2009 was a great day for storms over N. Ireland with high instability and slack Sly air flow with numerous troughs and convergence zones. Wide spread storms developed during the afternoon and late evening over W and N areas of the country. During the late evening I was treated to a gorgeous line of strong multicell convection over E Maghera before sunset which produced a brief funnel cloud (not photographed) and a wall cloud for a duration of 15 - 20 min's with possible tail cloud. It was the appearance of these huge cells which made the day such a treat. One page report with 16 images and 1 video clip.
On July 4th 2009 a forecast for powerful thunderstorms was issued for N. Ireland. Tipped off by a member of the UKWW forum who observed a severe cell with overshooting top from 50 miles distant, and heading for Maghera, I headed out and watched two huge storms which delivered c-g lightning, gun shot thunder, and torrential rainfall. The 2nd storm produced a wonderful flanking line from which a white rope-shaped funnel cloud dropped into view (not imaged). After these storms a chase ensued across the country and mountains as severe convection exploded over the Sperrins in the late evening low Sun. Another great storm day in N. Ireland. One page report with 15 images and 1 video clip.
This is the 2nd image account from Monday June 15th 2009. After two T-storms over Maghera during the afternoon a calm evening followed. Before sunset Ryan McDonald and I observed a distant funnel cloud emerge from the base of a powerful cell consisting of exploding towering cumulus clouds above the countryside in the NE side of town. The funnel changed shaped constantly for 10 min's from an inverted cone to a slender tube before vanishing into the base of the cell due to inflow winds affecting its orientation. A great end to three days of action which produced 8 T-storms and 3 funnel clouds. One page report with 20 images.
Monday June 15th 2009 was the final day of a trio of storm events across N. Ireland with high instability and intense ground heating triggering showers and storms across many parts of the country. On this day I observed two thunderstorms and two funnel clouds from Maghera. I have decided to split the day into afternoon and evening accounts. This account features one of those early storms which had a nice updraught/flanking line from which dropped a short lived funnel cloud. I also seen the most severe convection in the life this day. One page report with 11 images and 1 video clip.
This is the second image account from June 14th 2009 detailing the 3rd thunderstorm I caught this day. During the late evening we intercepted an organized storm over the Ballyronan area as it approached Lough Neagh while producing multiple pink coloured c-g and I-c lightning which illuminated the green precip curtain from behind. Above this was the finest shelf cloud I have ever seen from N. Ireland sporting two tiers and of large vertical and horizontal extent. This was a day which I will never forget. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip.
This is the second image account of five covering three days of thunderstorm action over N. Ireland. On Sunday June 14th 2009 I observed three thunderstorms which I have split into two different accounts covering the afternoon and evening events. This account covers the first two local storms of the day which produced a suspicious lowering, blue c-g lightning, and torrential rain over Maghera. One page report with 20 images and 1 video clip.
The first of five image accounts covering three days in a row of storm action over N. Ireland. June 13th produced a storm over Maghera, Slieve Gallion, followed by a funnel cloud from Draperstown with the chase ending back home in Maghera when the most electrically active storm in years arrived during the late evening with almost continuous lightning which actually killed a Sheep in close proximity to me. One page report with 25 images and 1 video clip.
May 21st 2009 was the fourth day in a row which produced thunderstorms over parts of N. Ireland. Aside from a rumble of thunder on the 20th I had missed much of the action from Maghera. During the late evening all that changed when I observed a funnel cloud drop from a wall cloud under a large cell over the NW shore of Lough Neagh from Ballyronan Marina, under difficult conditions. The funnel may even have been a waterspout at one stage. Also included are rainbow images and dramatic storm clouds at sunset which I shall never forget. Two page report with 28 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
May 10th 2009 was a glorious sunny day over N. Ireland, and not surprisingly no convective forecast or poor weather was expected. However, a large area of vorticity formed with slow moving convective updraught towers during the afternoon exhibiting rotation. At 16.10 BST I happened to glance out my back door and observed a small funnel cloud in the E sky which lasted for a duration of 5 min's. A nice little dark inverted cone sporting obvious rotation. A wonderful surprise on such a fine day. This was my first funnel cloud sighting of 2009. One page report with 3 images.
On April 25th 2009 a long duration thunderstorm formed over Co. Antrim during the late afternoon which produced flooding, thunder, lightning, and golf ball sized hail stones. Observations and images from the Maghaberry area showed a wall cloud and a suspect Mesocyclone within the cell. During the late evening I managed to observe this cell over Lough Neagh from Ballyronan Marina when it produced lightning over the Lough before dying out after sunset. A very action packed day. One page report with 9 images and 1 video clip.
During the hours of darkness just before 20.00 UT on Saturday March 7th 2009 an intense cold front moved in over N. Ireland driven by a low pressure system over the Atlantic Ocean. The leading edge of the cold front created large convective cells which then formed into an organized line of storms called a squall line. The squall line reached severe levels when it produced brutal gusts of wind at 87mph combined with horizontal rain, hail, thunder,and lightning which continued across the country causing some localized damage. This report documents my own account of this severe event when it hit Maghera and includes the reports from others across the country. One page account with 1 video clip and 2 video stills.
The 2008 Geminid meteor shower peaked on Dec 13/14th and despite concerns that the near full Moon would hamper observations the shower turned out to be spectacular. I did a seven hour watch from three different locations in Maghera and logged 99 Geminids including a number of spectacular fireballs. An unexpected surprise caught during the session was a rare lunar Parhelic Ciricle (or Paraselenic Circle) and lunar Wegener Arcs. One page report with 9 images.
This is a two page image account with 36 images and 2 video clips covering the period between November 30th and December 1st 2008 when a spectacular triple conjunction took place in the SW evening sky. A crescent Moon joined Venus and Jupiter who where only 2 degrees apart. The following day the Moon occulted Venus. During twilight the planet emerged from behind the Moon making for a breathtaking conjunction. I managed to get clear skies on both days and imaged the event from a high location from a frosty Maghera. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
Starry nights, a bright Moon, and passing showers can all come together to create a very special and elusive phenomena called a Moonbow. During the approaching full Moon of November 2008 I spent 7 nights and 16 hours hunting for this rare sight. This report covers the period from Nov 11-12th which resulted in a good 'harvest' of lunar rainbows all captured from the Maghera countryside. One page report with 9 images.
Short image account detailing a post-Orionid meteor shower watch and photo session during the morning of Oct 22nd 2008. During two sessions, after midnight, and before dawn, I managed to observe a rich number of meteors from this shower which was producing enhanced rates despite being one day after maximum activity. The highlight was a bright meteor capture in Auriga which left an ion train in its wake. - Report with 5 images.
After several nights of planning I felt confident that Oct 15th and 16th 2008 would provide the perfect conditions to hunt for the elusive moonbow. With a waning full Moon combined with Atlantic showers the sky did not disappoint. On both nights I captured Moonbows from a location outside Maghera over looking the Sperrin Mountains. The incredible Moonbows were bright and colourful against a back drop of moonlit convection and stars. Two page report with 14 images. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
The first day of September 2008 got off to an explosive start with a risk of thunderstorms over N. Ireland. I spent much of the day imaging the action near Maghera where 4 or 5 storms arrived delivering high quality cold air convection and deadly C-G and I-C lightning and dramatic thunder, which at times was too close for comfort!. Two page report with 27 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
Severe weather has been effecting many parts of Ireland/N. Ireland between August 11th and 16th. This came to a climax on Saturday August 16th when 24 hours of intense rainfall caused severe flooding to many areas causing major disruption and damage. Between Maghera and Tobermore the famous Moyola River experienced what is being described as 'The Great flood of 2008' by local anglers. I was at the scene to record this historical weather event. Report with 16 images and 1 video clip.
An exciting day on August 13th 2008 when a long duration thunderstorm formed over the Sperrin Mountains and slowly drifted over Maghera producing many cloud to ground strikes and intense rainfall. It also dropped three funnel clouds, one of which was large and tilted under the storm base in a horizontal position making this the best daytime thunderstorm I have seen this year to date. Two page report with 24 images and 3 video clips. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
Monday August 11th was the beginning of several days of severe weather over N. Ireland which caused severe rainfall, floods, and disruption to roads. Taking advantage of a convective outlook I headed out to the Maghera countryside hoping to catch a storm. I was not disappointed. The most impressive Gust Front I ever seen arrived over the Sperrin Mountains and formed a stunning Shelf Cloud along its leading edge. This was followed by severe torrential rain, a nasty thunderstorm, and flooding. This report documents that evening. 21 images and 1 video clip.
Second image account from August 2nd 2008 detailing another day of convective action. After a long day of shooting Cbs and towers in the Maghera countryside I returned home, however before 19.00 BST I glanced out my bedroom window and saw a substantial funnel cloud rotating in the eastern sky reaching half way to the ground outside Maghera. This account describes the day leading up to this thrilling event. Image report with images 7 and 1 short video clip.
Things couldn't get better on Friday 1st August 2008 after a great partial Solar Eclipse and funnel cloud over Maghaberry. A convective outlook had been issued followed by a tornado discussion from TORRO. Later that evening I was caught off guard when the sky darkened over my home. A black menacing structure blocked out the Sun. Further observation showed that this monster cell had a huge area of rotation, wall cloud, striation rings, and inflow bands. The cell contained an obvious Mesocyclone making this a good case for a possible LP Supercell. Two page report with 24 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE 1, PAGE 2.
July 18/19th 2008 was a night of unexpected thrills. I was out doing some night time photography hoping to catch an NLC display or even a thunderstorm, however none of these exciting events took place. The sky however has a mind of its own and can present you with something unexpected and special. Between 01.30 and 03.00 BST I was fortunate to witness half a dozen very rare moonbows. These were the best I have ever seen my life with intense magnitude, colours, and even secondary and supernumerary arcs. Some twilight convection shots are also included. Report with 10 images and 1 slide show.
After a succession of hot muggy days in N. Ireland a violent thunderstorm crossed the country taking forecasters by surprise. It hit the Mid-Ulster area at 03.00 BST and produced severe c-g lightning and long duration thunder for 1.5 hours without any let-up. I was fortunate enough to have been up and observed the entire event. One page report with 4 images and 1 video clip.
Before sunset on April 27th 2008 I caught my 2nd T-storm of the 2008 season when a slow moving series of cells approached over the Sperrin Mountains from the SW. This storm produced one I-C flash and two spectacular C-G bolts and thunder less than one mile from me. This was also one of three cells which showed rotation and produced heavy rain and hail. The structure of this storm was exceptional and so was the pink and blue colours cast by the low Sun. Inflow bands where observed also. Two page report with 20 images and 1 video clip. - PAGE , PAGE 2.
The 2008 thunderstorm season got off to a good start on April 11th 2008 when I experienced my first brief thunderstorm of the year. The large cell produced the biggest hail storm I have ever witnessed to date over Maghera with stone sizes varying between frozen pea and marble in diameter which hurt on impact. This was followed by gust front over the town which produced rain for hours on end. Report with 11 images and 1 video clip.
On March 3rd 2008 a mass of cold polar air descended over the UK creating some good convection, snow and even lightning which knocked out the power many times. During the afternoon Conor Mc Donald and I observed the action from the countryside. What began as a hopeless day turned into a great success when we caught large cells, giant snow and a menacing gust front. Two page report with 16 images and a video clip nearly 10 min's in duration. - PAGE1, PAGE 2.
Short written account of my efforts to observe the February 21st total lunar eclipse during the early morning hours. This was the best eclipse from the UK until 2028. However, a cold front arrived in from the Atlantic washing the eclipse from view with cloud and rain for much of the country. Despite the odds I did manage to make several naked eye observations of the partial phase even though it was raining!. No eclipse images here unfortunately.
Images and short report of the December 21st 2007 partial occultation of the Pleiades by the waxing gibbous Moon taken on a dangerous frosty and foggy night from various locations at Cookstown and Magherafelt, all in between periods of Christmas shopping!.
Report featuring two nights of Leonid meteor observing. The first with Conor Mc Donald on the 17th during the nodal crossing from Drumlamph forest outside Maghera where 44 Leonids burnt up. The 2nd night was overcast when an outburst was expected during the rise of the radiant. A nice experience despite the low rates.
A spectacular golden Mammatus cloud display passed over Maghera on Oct 28th 2007 before sunset producing the best display I have witnessed to date. This was produced by a passing cold front which kicked off some nice convection and even several lightning flashes. My friend and I observed the entire display during its swift passage over my home. one page report with 8 images.
Report documenting 11 nights of visual observing as I followed C/2007 F1 LONEOS through the evening and morning sky until it developed twin tails and became a faint naked eye object before plunging toward the Sun in the western sky at the end of Oct 2007 when it sported a stunning Ion tail over 2 degrees long. Report features all my sketches and one image.
A nice surprise took place on the mild afternoon of July 21st 2007 when a small cold core funnel cloud appeared from the base of a towering cumulus updraught with strong rotation in the northern sky in the Maghera countryside. 5 images and 1 video clip.
Read the report and view the images of the spectacular July 17th 2007 Funnel cloud and possible tornado which Conor McDonald, his girlfriend Christina and I observed from near my home at Maghera during a great thunderstorm outbreak. This was an incredible day which changed my life and which steered me with tremendous passion toward severe weather photography. This large funnel came close to touching the ground over the Ardboe area near Lough Neagh and becoming a Tornado which resulted in a three day site investigation by TORRO. Even years later this still ranks as one of my most exciting weather experiences and still the best funnel I have seen to date. One page report with 19 images.
My first ever storm!. This was the best thunder and lightning storm during the Summer of 2007 which took place during daytime on July 16th. This was a very successful day when Conor Mc Donald, his girlfriend and I chased this storm from Maghera to the top of Slieve Gallion encountering dangerous close range c-g lightning striking the ground, intense hail cores, mammatus and my first ever lightning bolts caught on video, from this day on I became hooked on storm chasing. 24 images 1 video clip
Report documenting 4 nights of Perseid meteor observation. Despite poor weather and an abundance of cloud I managed to observe 94 meteors on the night of maximum on my own from home. This years display was exceptional due to its high rates and numerous fireballs which could be seen THROUGH clouds!
Conor Mc Donald, Ciara, Stephen Mc Govern, Jonathan Bingham and myself observed the entire March 3rd 2007 total eclipse of the Moon under clear sparkling skies from the summit of Slieve Gallion in the Sperrin mountain range. We observed and imaged a spectacular red Danjon 3 eclipse despite frost and bitter winds. Read the report and view the wind blown images!
Short report detailing the successful visual observation of the March 2nd 2007 Moon / Saturn close Conjunction from my back garden late on a cold frosty night. Also included are images of the event.
Article detailing my negative and successful observations, sketches and images of great comet C/2006 P1 Mc Naught from N. Ireland with Conor Mc Donald and my extensive solo watches while battling the worst cloudy weather that I have encountered as an observer. I managed to observe the brightest comet in 42 years on 4 occasions. Twice in the evening sky and once in the morning sky followed by a brief but positive sighting of the comet's tail striations above the horizon while the comet itself was in the southern hemisphere! Also included is a link to my extensive nightskyhunter comet Mc Naught GALLERY.
Incredible Armageddon-style low level Mammatus display, gold in colour, and menacing in appearance as it passed over my home on December 1st 2006 before sunset. This was a beauty. Short report with 13 images.
Observing report documenting two observing sessions covering the traditional Leonid peak on Nov 17th and outburst on Nov 19th from a dark country location outside Maghera with John Mc Connell, Conor Mc Donald and Jonathan Bingham. We logged 228 meteors and obtained imagery of a spectacular mag - 11 fireball with smoke train. Read the report to find out what happened!
A fabulous all night observing session on October 28/29th with Conor Mc Donald, John Mc Connell and myself which took place at my home in Maghera. The session began with a comet, peaked with a fireball plus Gegenschein and ended with a count of 74 meteors before dawn!
Article documenting 5 nights of Orionid meteor action. Despite clouds many meteors were seen along with several impressive borderline fireballs.
A superb display of Mammatus clouds over Maghera on September 18th 2006 in the NE sky at 19.00 BST. Short account with 8 images.
A beautiful partial lunar eclipse complete with umbral shadow after sunset. Observing session with Conor Mc Donald complete with eclipse images.
Observing session with the EAAS on April 2nd 2005 which took place in my back garden.
Great all night observing session which took place in my back garden - deep sky, planets and Comet Observing.
Great crystal clear night with 59 meteors observed and 1 borderline fireball. Galaxies and comet 73P/ SW 3 on show.
Perseid 2006 meteor shower report spanning 5 nights of action documenting myself and Conor Mc Donald's solo meteor hunt and maximum night with the EAAS at Killylane.
March 3rd 2006 MM with the EAAS during a beautiful crystal clear night that was cut short by heavy snow showers - observing at its coldest.
A splendid partial solar eclipse observed from my own backyard with 3 other observers.
Visual report of C/2004 Q2 Machholz near its best in January 12/13th 2005 from my back garden during a crisp mid winter continuous comet observing run with Conor Mc Donald.
A selection of visual observations of the fragmenting comet 73P SW3 fragments C and B from March 28th - May 16th 2006 and of C/2006 A1 Pojmanski.
A selection of visual observations documenting new comet C/2006 A1 Pojmanski from February 27th - April 4th 2006.
Brief descriptions of the 30 + NLC displays I observed between May - July 2006 in the form of extracts from the EAAS forum.
Report with images featuring how I refurbished and customized by Meade 16" F/4.5 dobsonian reflector. This involved a new paint job, relocation of finderscope and telrad, and cleaning the primary and secondary mirrors. A fun project which took place in my garage along with Conor Mc Donald.
A brief selection of visual observations of naked eye comet Q2 Machholz from December 1st - January 5th 2004.