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This image is a combination of six pictures, to create a panoramic view of the approaching storm front, and was taken near the intersection of Southbank and Yamba roads. “This amazing shelf cloud followed me all the way to Yamba, and managed to be right on me at one stage,” photographer Megan Burgess wrote on her Facebook page. “Awesome storm and good to have scored another shelf cloud since my Jacobs Well Qld pic a few years back.” Megan has digitally removed the poles and wires from the foreground of the picture: “Me being fussy, I don’t like powerlines in my images.” Image: Megan Burgess. Inset: Megan Burgess. Image: Contributed.

Capturing a storm front

This image is a combination of six pictures, to create a panoramic view of the approaching storm front, and was taken near the intersection of Southbank and Yamba roads. “This amazing shelf cloud followed me all the way to Yamba, and managed to be right on me at one stage,” photographer Megan Burgess wrote on her Facebook page. "Awesome storm and good to have scored another shelf cloud since my Jacobs Well Qld pic a few years back." Megan has digitally removed the poles and wires from the foreground of the picture: “Me being fussy, I don’t like powerlines in my images.” Image: Megan Burgess. Inset: Megan Burgess. Image: Contributed.
This image is a combination of six pictures, to create a panoramic view of the approaching storm front, and was taken near the intersection of Southbank and Yamba roads. “This amazing shelf cloud followed me all the way to Yamba, and managed to be right on me at one stage,” photographer Megan Burgess wrote on her Facebook page. “Awesome storm and good to have scored another shelf cloud since my Jacobs Well Qld pic a few years back.” Megan has digitally removed the poles and wires from the foreground of the picture: “Me being fussy, I don’t like powerlines in my images.” Image: Megan Burgess. Inset: Megan Burgess. Image: Contributed.

Townsend resident Megan Burgess chases storms, camera at the ready. When this one was approaching the Lower Clarence on Friday afternoon, her excitement levels were heightened.
“I was watching the radar most of the afternoon,” she says. “I heard a couple of rumbles and thought it was time to have a look.”
Stepping outside her home, she looked to the sky and thought “‘Oh my God, this thing has teeth in it’; and I knew it was going to form bigger and bigger,” she said.
“I knew it was going to go straight to the coast and hopped in the car and headed towards Yamba via Southbank Road.”
Megan says she loves the adrenalin rush of chasing storms and “coming home with the photos”.
Her enthusiasm for chasing storms, which she has been pursuing for about three years, was inspired by her friends – sometimes she has “chased storms all the way to Queensland, [because] being there is so exciting”.
When it comes to shooting lightning, she sets up her camera on tripod undercover and takes picture via remote control from the safety of her car.
This spectacular low cloud bank (called a shelf cloud) was the leading edge of a thunderstorm that swept across the valley last Friday evening –this picture was taken just after 5pm.
The Bureau of Meteorology’s Storm Spotters Handbook says “very humid conditions will promote a thick, low cloud bank while a sharp, strong gust front will cause the lowest part of the leading edge to be ragged and lined with rising scud.
“…A very low shelf cloud accompanied by pockets of dense, rising scud is a good indicator of a potentially violent wind squall to come.”

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