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Essex Thunderstorms

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Late yesterday evening between 21:00hrs and midnight 30th April 2012 a batch of home brewed sharp thunderstorms developed in the warm south easterly continental air mass as it pushed northwestwards from the low countries.

Temperatures in the afternoon in western Germany and Belgium had been in the low to mid twenties after some good sunshine totals in the final days of April. This airmass which initially had its roots in North Africa had remained warm at the surface in Germany over the weekend due to the high insolation levels at this time of year. The Low pressure over the south of the UK moved westwards yesterday and this allowed an ever warmer continental east, southeasterly to develop at the surface. With a strong southerly jet over France the stage was set for the first batch of thundery activity to develop and run up into the southeast of England in the evening.

As this did so Thunderstorms broke out on the Essex coastline at nine pm and then quickly transferred west, northwestwards into Essex and Hertfordshire towards midnight.

The rain just south of Chelmsford started with huge raindrops largely spaced at 10:30pm which was indicative of very strong convection. There was some very sudden tremendous short sharp aggresive downpoors. Air temps were quite low due to the sea surface temperatures being only 8 to 9 degrees centigrade at present. However there was an inversion above a thousand feet where the warm continental airmass drove convection and mixing to the tropopause.

The half Moon lit up the ever growing Cumulonimbus batch from the southwest and looking from south Essex northwards into the heart of Essex one could see the huge rising Cb thunderheads. Electrification within these Cb's began early and flashed away at the rate of once every ten seconds within the thunderheads which lit them up like lanterns in the sky. Strangely though, there was little thunder, mainly an electrical display. The storms moved off to be in Hertfordshire at around midnight and early this morning where cloud top flashes could still be clearly seen.

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i didnt see any cumulus towers lighting up last night, but i have seen this before in the past, fairly unusual though. This type of storm is one of my favs if it is isolated great structure shots can be had. I did hear thunder last night around 22.30 nine miles to the south, and 01.25 at the same distance.

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Hi Sprites.

Its a shame that you didnt see these last night, but it would have been difficult for you because you would have been looking southand southwest into the Moon light and so any lightning from the cloud tops to the south in Essex would have been difficult to see. Also if it was cloudy where you were with low cloud then again the lightning would have not been possible to see.

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Between 10:30 and 11:30 I watched a nice little storm with frequent lightning moving Eastwards through Bury St Edmunds. Lots of IC and some really yellow CG's. Could not see the towers due to some low level cover but all in all a very good night of covective activity.

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Was in the Same Position as Vill last night in SE Essex, Viewed From Leigh On Sea where I was always South and East of the Updraught Towers with no low level cloud obscuring the view, Moon was in the SW Sky and Cb's to the North Lighting Up about 10-15 times per minute.

These type of EML Storms always give off great Clear Lightning as they are elevated, I think areas along the North Shore of the Thames Estuary barely received any rain between 10pm and 1am last night, I saw some great Cg Bolts out of the back of the Updraughts, Interestingly did not see any Anvils associated with these Storms just the Single Cell Towers.

A rare sight indeed in the Uk but it used to happen quite a lot in the 1980's with lots of electrical Storms and barely any Thunder

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Hi Sprites.

Its a shame that you didnt see these last night, but it would have been difficult for you because you would have been looking southand southwest into the Moon light and so any lightning from the cloud tops to the south in Essex would have been difficult to see. Also if it was cloudy where you were with low cloud then again the lightning would have not been possible to see.

it was quite cloudy here yes, perhaps the cirrus from the anvils were obscurring the towers, from your area the rear of the storm may have been clearer with the anvil blowing to the N.W.

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this was more like an arizona type storm then,if there wasnt any real anvil veil smiliz57.gif ,was a nice surprise so early in the year.

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Nice pics Sprites!

It looked slightly ariozonaish! :)

Been a good year so far storm wise.

Hope we start to get some warmth back soon though!

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Just hopes its an indication of what's to come in the Summer :p

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Nice pics Sprites!

It looked slightly ariozonaish! smile.png

Been a good year so far storm wise.

Hope we start to get some warmth back soon though!

oh the recent pics i uploaded were from 1st may 2005 lol

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oh the recent pics i uploaded were from 1st may 2005 lol

oooops lol.

Well that is how I imagine last night would have looked :)

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yes storm here was more electrical for hours with short rain bursts and a few peels of thunder

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I remember while looking at the netweather radar, the CAPE was virtually zero, and the lifted index was +8 , without taking into account the midlevel setup, the chance of a storm would appeared to be very slim...

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