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N. Ireland Storm Chasing Reports - 2019

 

A new year of sky action has begun!

January 16th was my first storm chase of 2019 thanks to the arrival of unstable Arctic air with CAPE and wind shear increasing from 20 to 60 knots throughout the period which would generate convective showers of hail and snow with coastal areas indicating the greatest potential. I spent the entire day and night at the north coast with photographer Nigel McFarland shooting Winter cbs, DSLR time-lapse sequences & even drone footage of convection. After dark we captured sheared moonlit cells, time-lapse and even a surprise military flare exercise. We spent 12 hours on location and I acquired 2700 DSLR images to render. One page report with 16 images and 2 video clips. - REPORT. Winter cbs & Moonlit Convection - Jan 2019
   
January 22nd 2019 brought a much anticipated episode of Winter action to the hills of N. Ireland when an unstable air mass advected across the country bringing convective hail and snow showers. I drove to Benbradagh mountain near Dungiven where a fresh snowfall had taken place and for the next hour I got treated to sunshine and glorious blue skies which I documented by obtaining aerial video and imagery using the drone. Suddenly the sky darkened announcing the arrival of a huge cell with a sheared anvil that began moving rapidly in my direction. As the cell advanced it formed a spectacular shelf cloud almost touching the ground which provided the best Winter storm structure I have ever experienced. The cell impacted the area with frozen pea-sized hailstones, snow and rare thundersnow which made for a thrilling experience. One page report with 16 images and 3 videos. - REPORT. Benbradagh Thundersnow Shelf Cloud - Jan 22nd 2019
   
A surprise phone call from a mate alerted me to a good snowfall event on the morning of January 30th 2019 so I dedicated this day to aerial snowscapes with the Mavic 2 Pro. I spent the day filming snow scenes at Swatragh wind farm and Mussenden Temple however it was the Magilligan area which offered the greatest show surrounded by widespread snow to sea level reminding me of scenes from 2010. The highlight of the day was the spectacular Binevenagh mountain covered in deep snow complimented by polar blue skies and perfect sunshine which I documented by drone. This mountain provided me with epic scenes and my finest Winter reveal aerial footage to date, I captured panos and video footage making this an unforgettable snow shoot. One page report with 15 images and 3 video clips. - REPORT Beautiful Binevenagh Snowfall - Drone View - Jan 30th 2019
   
On February 2nd 2019 a cancelled night shoot turned into an early morning Winter shoot. Three friends and I spent 8 hours exploring the Sperrins in Co. Tyrone after a cluster of overnight snow showers had passed through leaving a beautiful sunny Winter's day in their wake. We spent much of the day obtaining drone imagery and aerial footage of the beautiful scenes on this area had to offer. The adventure began in the -3C snow-covered Beaghmore Stone Circles then relocated to Gortin Glen lakes, the stunning Gortin Forest route, then climaxing with beautiful ice patterns on the frozen Seven Sisters lakes on the Omagh road during Golden Hour. One page report with 15 images and 3 video clips. - REPORT. Gortin Glen Drone Snow Scenes -  February 2019
   
March 10th 2019 provided me with a chase day I couldn't ignore with decent instability for so early in the season with -40C upper air in the wake of a cold front. It would be a day of convection, hail and snow showers with a risk of thunderstorms. I chased to the north coast as a base of operations and hooked up with John fagan on Benone beach. By mid afternoon a large thunderstorm fired over Donegal then made its way to our position, as it overtook us the storm turned severe delivering a spectacular downdraught at 58.6mph with a barrage of hailstones and sand flying across the beach at high speed engulfing a fisherman who braved the onslaught, by definition this was a severe thunderstorm and a thrilling encounter. One page report with 9 images and 1 video clip. - REPORT. Severe Thunderstorm Outflow At Benone Beach - March 10th 2019
   
March 12th 2019 introduced a deep low pressure system named storm Gareth which would bring 80mph winds to the coast, high seas, and convective potential in a strongly sheared set-up with tornado potential. I spend 12 hours on location at the north coast where we got treated to non stop squally showers, ocean thunderstorms with active c-g rates and a dramatic cell before sunset. When darkness fell sporadic lightning flashes lit up the sky however the highlight of the event was a dramatic storm surge on Benone beach when the sea suddenly covered the beach and propagated across the concrete road like a tsunami. One page report with 13 images and 1 video clip. - REPORT. Storm Gareth Thunderstorms & Benone Beach Storm Surge - March 12th 2019
   
I have always wanted to film a fireworks display by drone however I always put off the event for various reasons due to weather or drone regulations. However after hearing about the Portstewart NW200 fireworks display on May 17th 2019 I finally decided I would tick it off my bucket list. The location and take off point satisfied all CAA regulations and I would be flying over the ocean which would be extra atmospheric. At 22.30 the fireworks erupted into life and from the rocks on the sea shore I launched my Phantom 3 Advanced and commenced aerial filming. The flight was a complete success, I was thrilled and satisfied with the experience in equal measure. Read more about how I went about the filming and my course of action pre-flight on the report. One page report with 4 stills and 1 video clip. - REPORT. Drone View Porstewart Fireworks Display - May 17th 2019
   
After a long drought the 2019 Summer storm season finally relented with a day of 600 CAPE and a risk of pulse storms. The odds were not great due to a lack of shear, cooler temps and cloud cover concerns with rain bands potentially killing the day. After a mid afternoon bust chase in Tyrone I returned home to be greeted by better solar heating and taller late evening towers. Radar showed a line of storms approaching Lough Neagh so I raced out the road, I battled frustrating roads and finally intercepted the line of cells S of Ballyonan, I followed them N through Gulladuff with nice gust front structure then finally I got treated to a beautiful late evening show from the Maghera countryside with sunlit cell sporting mammatus which I time-lapse departing into the distance at sunset. Also includes a missed funnel on camera and beautiful coastal sunset. One page report with 20 images and 2 video clips. - REPORT. Maghera Storm Cell - June 6th 2019
   
This report begins with a local chase on June 13th to intercept a gust front near Toome, progresses to a lament about recent storm busts in the 2019 chase season, then climaxes with the most spectacular NLC display I have seen since 2019. I documented the entire show from a road side near Cookstown where I watched in awe as an extensive type 5 display dominated the northern sky, illuminating objects, sporting real time motion, and unearthly structure with bizarre shapes and motion. A truly unforgettable night in the middle of the most active NLC season for over a decade. One page report with 15 images and 3 video clips. - REPORT. Cookstown Noctilucent Cloud Storm - June 17th 2019
   
On June 27th 2019 I decided to take a gamble and head to the north coast in the hope of capturing an NLC display over the famous foreground this place has to offer, after all, it would be the last clear night for a while. I left earlier and teamed up with Nigel McFarland, we documented a pleasant summer sunset from Binevenagh by drone, soon after we got shocked by a striking NLC display at the zenith in twilight. This faded however a new display rapidly formed which became one of the most photogenic of the season. We shot the NLCs over Mussenden Temple and Downhill Estate until dawn and I acquired my finest NLC time-lapse sequences to date which made for a great summer memory. One page report with 13 images and 2 video clips. - REPORT. Mussenden Temple Noctilucent Clouds - June 28th 2019
   
June 29th brought the convective event of the summer when unstable air overlapping 80 knots of deep layer shear triggered an organized evening thunderstorm over the west of NI. On a hunch and after detailed personal forecasting Paul Martin and I chased into Co. Fermanagh and intercepted a rapid moving squall line which traversed NE across much of the country. We battled traffic and torrential rain to stay ahead of the system and got rewarded with an embedded funnel cloud and strong long-lived rotation over the Omagh road, followed by thunder, and climaxing with a beautiful late evening shelf cloud over the countryside to the west of Lough Neagh which made for our most exciting chase in years. One page report with 26 images and 1 video clip. - REPORT. Co. Tyrone Squall Line Shelf Cloud - June 29th 2019
   

 

 

 

 

Martin McKenna

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