Event The great Sydney Hailstorm of 1947

Joshua Randazzo

Early Days
Jan 1, 2021
70
71
18
near sydney CBD.
I'm sure at least some of you are aware of the major hailstorm that hit Sydney on new years day 1947 when a classic supercell tracked in a line from liverpool to the eastern suburbs of the city before dissipating out at sea east of bondi, this storm produced hail larger then 8cm according to newmans BOM report of the storm.

The storm was first spotted at 10:00am over the blue mountains with the bom noting how the storm was developing very different from other storms with the underpart of the cloud being mottled and serrated rather then mammilated and look angry black, while false cirrus tuffs were discernible at the top.

The storm cell intensified as it got closer to the coast with it having a very peculiar formation east of liverpool according to newmans report of the storm,hail the size of billiard balls fell over the south western suburbs before unleashing it's full power over the CBD and the eastern suburbs with hail the size of oranges reported over the eastern beachers with a ww2 veteran who was sunbathing at Bondi Beach stateing "though [he] was back in the firing line overseas".

People who were at sydney eastern beaches were subjected to the 8cm+ hail without any selter.

Now time for details about how this storm formed into a supercell. on the day the max temp recorded was 32.7 and humidity reaching 73% as well as a north east sea breeze.
here is a link of newmans report of the storm:https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Phenomenal_Hailstorm_with_Thunderstorm,_Sydney_1st_January_1947

As can be read the sea breeze caused it to form into supercell as well at very little capping inversion.

1947_Sydney_hailstorm_boat.jpg

very large hail falling into water from classic supercell at rose bay in sydney's eastern suburbs.

87889477_2588946641387438_7806618877462315008_n.jpg

Photo of giant hail that fell at bondi beach. looks like some 10cm stones there!

118214041_1026238921142261_8996354542066066512_n.jpg

classic supercell structure as the storm moved out to sea.
 
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Joshua Randazzo

Early Days
Jan 1, 2021
70
71
18
near sydney CBD.
This thread will be me just talking about my thoughts on the great Sydney hailstorm of 1947.

As i have said many times the 1947 Sydney hailstorm was strongest to the east of the CBD of Sydney where hail larger than 8 cm was recorded . That means imo that topography had very little to no effect on intensifying the storm.

1947 sydney hailstorm mapp.png

As can be seen on this very poorly made track map of the storm i made the storm formed into a supercell just east of liverpool, now this where the 1947 hailstorm was very unusual only very few classic storms (storms that form due to a trough) make it to the coastline at full strength let alone at its strongest strength this means that some weather pattern on new years day 1947 increased the strength of storm as it got closer to the coastline. On new years day 1947 the max temp recorded at the CBD was around 30 degrees and humidity reaching 73% plus a north east sea breeze. some people on this forum think that the sea breeze kill storms while this is true a lot of the time on occasions the sea breeze can increase lift, why this happens is beyond my ability to understand but i think it has something to do with increasing turn in the thunderstorm in very isolated cases.

Other photos of the supercell:

1947_Sydney_hailstorm_boat.jpg

As can be seen on this photo taken by Bob Rice Rose bay was hit very hard by the supercell however the hail that fell as rose bay was not the largest that fell with the largest hail falling south of rose bay around the bondi area with many reports of 10 cm hail with official reports being 8 cm.
120108930_654792971861048_1295541763689665460_n.jpg

This was the size of the hail that fell at Bondi, looks like some 10cm ones there!

897395713-hailstone-hail-precipitation-rooftile-windowpane.jpg

This is a view of the side of the supercell as it moved off to sea and dissipated east of bondi. very classic supercell structure there!

If anyone more educated than me on weather has an idea on how the 1947 sydney supercell was strongest on the coast fell free to comment below.

also sorry about the poor punctuation i'm not the smartest of people when to comes to typing.

https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Phenomenal_Hailstorm_with_Thunderstorm,_Sydney_1st_January_1947
 

Joshua Randazzo

Early Days
Jan 1, 2021
70
71
18
near sydney CBD.
Id rate the 1947 sydney hailstorm about the same as the 1999 storm in terms of unusualness. but in terms of structure the 1947 sydney supercell is better looking as was evident even before it formed into a supercell as was told in the report of the 1947 storm " Mr R.R.C. Porter, Observer at Mascot, saw the cloud which gave rise to the storm forming at approximately 1000K between approximately Fairfield and Liverpool. It had then reached a fairly advanced stage of development with a peculiar formation".

PECULIAR FORMATION is words you don't here the BOM use very often. yes the 1999 storm had very mean looking formations but in terms of supercell formation its not a mean looking as the 1947 supercell...

vlcsnap-2021-05-23-02h51m54s975.png
 

Snowmaker7

One of Us
Jul 25, 2013
349
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263
Bowral, NSW
Id rate the 1947 sydney hailstorm about the same as the 1999 storm in terms of unusualness. but in terms of structure the 1947 sydney supercell is better looking as was evident even before it formed into a supercell as was told in the report of the 1947 storm " Mr R.R.C. Porter, Observer at Mascot, saw the cloud which gave rise to the storm forming at approximately 1000K between approximately Fairfield and Liverpool. It had then reached a fairly advanced stage of development with a peculiar formation".

PECULIAR FORMATION is words you don't here the BOM use very often. yes the 1999 storm had very mean looking formations but in terms of supercell formation its not a mean looking as the 1947 supercell...

vlcsnap-2021-05-23-02h51m54s975.png
I'd say they were both just as unusual in terms of the size of the hail, BUT the Sydney 1999 storm was far far more out of the ordinary in terms of the trajectory of it. I don't know a lot about the 1947 storm myself, but I remember that on the morning before the 1999 storm, the BOM had forecasted something like "possible shower along the coast" - and look what happened. We have not seen a storm since then follow the coastline from south to north, and certainly not a storm of similar severity since.
 
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Billy Bob

Hard Yards
Nov 23, 2020
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Bungendore
The supercell which spawned the Kurnell tornado in 2015 similarly tracked along the coast, though covered a lot less ground than the 1999 hailstorm. Michael Thompson (ozthunder) has a video of the 1999 storm as it developed over Shellharbour on his YouTube channel. Apparently he then phoned the Bureau, warning them of the potential for large hail, but was pretty much ignored!
 
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Ultra2.0

One of Us
Jan 27, 2020
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I was living at Paddington when the 99 storm hit. fortunately our terrace had a corrugated iron roof. soon looked like a golf ball. it was the tiles falling off the roof along the street that did the most damage to cars park out front.
 
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Joshua Randazzo

Early Days
Jan 1, 2021
70
71
18
near sydney CBD.
I'd say they were both just as unusual in terms of the size of the hail, BUT the Sydney 1999 storm was far far more out of the ordinary in terms of the trajectory of it. I don't know a lot about the 1947 storm myself, but I remember that on the morning before the 1999 storm, the BOM had forecasted something like "possible shower along the coast" - and look what happened. We have not seen a storm since then follow the coastline from south to north, and certainly not a storm of similar severity since.
i agree but that does not mean that the 1947 supercell was not unusual in the way it moved,it formed over the blue mountains which is not unusual but the way it turned into a supercell just east of Liverpool which it very flat and on most days weaken storms. why didn't it weaken when it slid off the mountains? what happened just east of liverpool? it was too far inland for the sea breeze to have any effect and in most cases the sea breeze weakens storms. if it slid right over the top as steve777 said it wouldn't of intensified like it did it would of stayed the same intensity.

hopefully POW_hungry or donzah can explain this to me. as it boggles my mind

 

Joshua Randazzo

Early Days
Jan 1, 2021
70
71
18
near sydney CBD.
i agree but that does not mean that the 1947 supercell was not unusual in the way it moved,it formed over the blue mountains which is not unusual but the way it turned into a supercell just east of Liverpool which it very flat and on most days weaken storms. why didn't it weaken when it slid off the mountains? what happened just east of liverpool? it was too far inland for the sea breeze to have any effect and in most cases the sea breeze weakens storms. if it slid right over the top as steve777 said it wouldn't of intensified like it did it would of stayed the same intensity.

hopefully POW_hungry or donzah can explain this to me. as it boggles my mind


CDE5M3VUMAA4_CP.jpg
 

Joshua Randazzo

Early Days
Jan 1, 2021
70
71
18
near sydney CBD.
My father used to recall this storm quite frequently! On the day, he was playing cricket at Concord. They could see the dark storm clouds and hear the thunder but Concord did not get a drop of rain. He could recall the heat and oppressive humidity of the day, even in his older years. As my father returned home that evening (at that time he lived in Forest Lodge - Glebe, near the city) the damage from the storm became more apparent as he got closer to the city. His mother's home sustained some cracked roof tiles but the worst damage was to the east of the city. This event was clear in my father's mind right up until just before his death.

Regards,

Geoff Thurtell



"the worst damage was to the east of the city"
 

Hermon

One of Us
Aug 24, 2008
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IIRC the 1999 hailstorm had its genesis much closer to the coast than the 1947 event, and it was a much cooler day. I well remember the tarps over nearly every roof Northeast of Sydney airport in May 1999.

The closest I saw to the Sydney hailstorms in Melbourne was near Bayswater and Ferntree Gully in March 2010. Those supercells were fast moving from the Northwest.
 
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