March 9th: Anvils, Mammatus, Rainbows and Hail, South Hampshire

It's been a long time coming, but the first day of photogenic convection this year proved to be about as good as it gets for early March. A cool, northwesterly, maritime airstream flodded the UK, bringing widespread shallow convection. There were a few rumbles of thunder around the country, but none of the showers I saw produced any. Nonetheless, some very nice examples with a crisp blue backdrop. The air was quite dry at low levels, so not much precipitation was reaching the ground, apart from in the heavier showers. The first anvils appeared to the west in the early afternoon:

First Anvil

I headed about 5 miles inland to a good vantage point in the New Forest. Here you can see an approaching line of showers, building quite rapidly as they got nearer:

Approaching Showers

A view towards the anvil above as it loomed overhead:

The sun remained out right until the last minute, giving some very stormy-looking scenes with near pitch black skies and heavy rain visible in the distance:


The heavy rain stayed just to the north, but the shower swung a relatively strong gust front right overhead, giving a few hailstones and some very strong (and cold!) gusts of wind:

Gust front

As it passed quickly to the east, a nice display of mammatus on the back edge:


A very bright double rainbow followed soon after as the sun returned. It was one of the brightest I've seen:


Looking back south, another textbook example of a cumulonimbus over the Isle of Wight:


The shower that passed over me was now retreating into the distance, dying as it went. Still retained it's rainbow though:


I had to go home at this point to upload my images - I really need another memory card! I was hoping to head for the coast for sunset, with the idea of catching some anvils over the sea. Luckily I arrived just in time:


This local shower was positioned over Bournemouth and Poole, Dorset, with some new growth behind. The backlightning really made this a good scene, with virga clearly seen:


A parting shot as the sun set beneath this impressive anvil: