Heat Storms and Lightning, Brussels - Leffinge - Mariakerke, July 28th & 29th, 2008

Thunderstorms again today, and so we did a chase. We first targeted the east of Belgium. I went with the train from Ghent to Leuven, where Olivier would pick me up for the chase. While approaching and railing through Brussels, I had a great view on a heat storm just to the south of Brussels. It had several updraft, but collapsed eventually around 8:30pm. So did most of the other storms, except those to the west in Northern France. So we went west after all, and made it near the cost at sunset. At that moment, a far ahead vague shelf came over, but lightning was very distant still. Unfortunately, CG activity dropped from 700 strikes to less than 50 when the storm came into sight. It was replaced by active sheet lightning, but that obviously is not so interesting for photography. The storm was still growing in size and precipitation, but hardly had any new towering heads anymore. We were able capture no more than a few distant rare CG and some CC channels.

Satellite image of 8pm, when I took the pictures of the little heat storm from the train in Brussels


Seen from the N

Seen from the NE

Seen from the ENE

Some mammatus for a short moment

We headed back to the west, and near Ghent, we saw the sun setting underneath the upcoming anvil from the storms in France

Our shooting location near the town of Leffinge (GPS data inside the pictures)

View Larger Map

Once we found a shooting location near the town of Leffinge, the far ahead shelf came over, dark and blue against the last colors of the sunset.

View towards the SW

After the shelf, it cleared out a bit again, and some nice towering Cu was visible that got triggered from the hot and moist air being lifted by the outflow

Most CG lightning ceased except for a few, but I was still able to capture a few CC bolts swirling overhead.

One of few CG strikes left over

Soon the rain set in and we had to move east. The took the first highway exit out of the rain to take some more pictures of CC lightning from the back/side of the storm

Our new location, a bit distant but nice enough for some CC and anvil crawlers

View Larger Map


Another rare CG. This is a tiny crop from the full image

We left our spot a bit too early. An unorganized line following the one we chased, approached from France, with scattered showers without much organisation and barely any lightning. Usually it means we won't have anything, but this time we made a big mistake. Too hours after we left our last spot, the showers organised into a line of intense precipation and lots of CG strikes, this time when it entered Belgium. It was too late to drive back, so I took a few pictures close to home. This side was the least active, but it nevertheless spawned a few nice bolts. Unfortunately, upcoming mist ruined the exposure conditions, and I went home again.

T  -  Technisch

© Skyscapes 2008