Yesterday, a good southerly buster of a storm hit the Gold Coast, with some spectacular cloud formations, strong winds and a great lightning show. However, a storm front is something we’re all familiar with – have you ever seen a cloud like this before?
It’s called a Morning Glory, and it’s a unique weather phenomenon which occurs only in the Gulf of Carpentaria in northern Australia. The roll of cloud can be up to 1000km long and travels rapidly across the ocean and land, with strong updrafts at the leading edge and powerful downdrafts in its wake. Depending on the conditions, a glory may appear as a single band of cloud, or a set of ten or more successive waves.
I’m a bit of a weather nut (people who know me have probably noticed my fascination with the sky), so I was transfixed at the story of Jon Durand, a professional hang-glider who made it his goal to ride a Glory. He took a Red Bull film team with him, and the result was a breathtaking half-hour documentary of the trip. Have a look at the result:
The story and the excitement of their attempts to glide on the front of the glory were overshadowed by the scale and majesty of the cloud itself. Check out the preview video here; Jon was humbled by the experience, and I was astonished (from the safety of my lounge room). To be above a cloud like that, powered by nothing more than the forces of gravity and air pressure, racing to stay ahead of the danger zone… wow!