A large storm is making its way through Canberra at the moment. It appears to be affecting southern Canberra more severely than northern Canberra. The weather bureau cancelled their severe storm warning at 9:40pm which was a silly thing to do. The storm is bring some pretty heavy falls.
The storm appears to have caused a power surge, which occurred while it was still a fair way out of Canberra so I suspect that lightning has struck a power line somewhere. When this happened, it killed off transmissions from Telstra Tower and, presumably, the transmissions for surrounding areas which generally feed off the tower.
The storm is moving fairly quickly, so it should move out of the area soon. If you need help in the storm, call the SES on 131 500.
With TV and FM radio broadcasts currently off-air due to the issues up at Telstra Tower, my little hobby transmitter on 99.9FM at home is the only FM station still on air in the area. I suppose I can take some pride from that. It also carries a responsibility and I’m breaking in to programming with storm updates. I don’t expect that anyone is listening, but I’m there just in case somebody has checked the dial for a signal.
Update 1:14am: That storms seems to have passed, but there’s another concerning storm about to pass through Canberra. This one appears to be travelling slightly north of the last one. Again, I’d suggest being prepared…it sounds angry. End Update
Update 1:23am: TV and radio services on Telstra Tower have mostly been restored. Main radio stations are back, some smaller stations not on the main antenna still don’t have carrier, but some of the bigger stations seem to be transmitting dead air which could be studio or link related. On the bright side, at least Telstra Tower is back.
Bad news is the second storm cell is just about upon us. North Canberra and suburbs nearish to the lake take care. End Update
Update 1:34am:It’s here. Baton down the hatches NOW! Reminder that the SES can be contacted on 132 500. End Update
Update 1:55am: That should be it for Canberra. The storm is just about out of our hair now, but Queanbeyan residents should probably keep an eye on it for another 10-20 minutes. Another reminder that the SES can be contacted on 132 500 if you need help cleaning up from the storm. I took a couple video clips of the storm passing over my area…I’ll upload them shortly. End Update
Update 2:03am: Actually, I’m seeing another small storm cell which should pass to the south of Tuggeranong, maybe scraping the edges of civilisation down there in about the next 20-30 minutes. Tharwa and Michelago residents should be on alert for this one, but it looks like problematic than the two bigger cells which have already passed through the region. End Update
Final Update: Here are a couple videos of the view of the second storm cell from my place.
This first video is from the height of the storm. The window is closed in this video but the rain is still clearly audible. Note the frequency of the lightning…the last time I saw lightning that frequent was in the lead-up to the great hail storm of 2007 …thankfully we didn’t have hail like that this time.
I shot this second video a tad later on when the storm had died down a bit and I had finished talking with 2UE’s John Kerr (the end of the call is audible in the background as I had the 2UE webstream on which has about a 45 second delay on it). The highlight of this one is that a lightning bolt is directly visible, rather than just a series of flashing clouds.
And speaking of that call to John Kerr, I ran a tape (tape? OK, maybe I just fired up Cool Edit Pro, which reminds me that I’ve been meaning to upgrade to Audition for yonks) over the 4BC webstream because I wanted to hear how loud the rain sounded in the background…not as loud as I thought, but loud enough.
Download MP3 
Certainly an interesting night in the nation’s capital. End Update
Another update…Monday January 3: For the record books, the reason the TV and radio signals from Telstra Tower vanished is that the generator did not kick in. Apart from the power surge, Telstra Tower was one of the parts of Canberra to also suffer from a power failure. Unfortunately their backup generator did not start, and so the entire tower, including the transmission equipment lost power. End Update