Date: 02 to 03-07-1999
Cell 1: 23:30, Cell 2: 00:40, Cell 3: 01:34 (BST)
Macclesfield, Cheshire UK
Type: Severe Frontal Multicell
Documented by: Mark Seltzer
Equipment: Samsung VP-H65 Video Camera
Footage Quality:

Storm Statistics: T0026.doc
Event Timeline: T0026events.xls

A very active cold front swung up from the south west of England with pace on this hot and humid day with thunderstorms sparking off initially over southern Wales and the south during the evening along the front. The storms later organised themselves into two severe multicells, one over the northern Midlands and the other towards the Cambridge area further south east. The northern-most cell was the one that approached Macclesfield, just clipping the area to the south-east showing off its <10 second discharge rate over the Pennines.

It started off with a couple of weaker cells passing close to Macclesfield first, which flickered in the distance and gave a few C-Cs, but then died out as the southern-most part of the Multicell sapped the energy. It was until half an hour later the southern part of the storm passed within a few miles of Macclesfield, creating the bulk of the footage. Discharge rates were seen to be little more than 10 seconds at this point, mostly with faint upper-level I-Cs and lightning shielded by distance and rain-curtains.

Amongst the constant flickering there were a few close C-Cs and a fantastic I-C multi-discharge with tens of return strokes lasting a couple of seconds. As most were distant I-Cs I had to zoom in on the action over the Pennines with the camera.

The southern part of the multicell by this time was over Derbyshire where a friend of mine was camping in a trailer as it passed over. His eye-witness account was that C-Gs were striking the ground viciously around them and a few trees were hit and car alarms were going off all around them. Pretty intense and scary I would imagine!

Meanwhile the southern multicell over towards Cambridge was now causing havoc in East Anglia as it moved towards the North Sea at about 4-5am. This cell appeared on the radar to be even more intense, generating huge quantities of lightning and intense rainfall with 14mm of rain falling between 3 and 4am at Wattisham airbase (BBC weather source). The radar image showed the traditional squall line structure of this particular cell with a 60-mile red line embedded within a moderate-rain echo. It wouldn’t have surprised me if there were any tornadic events associated with these storms judging off their shear intensity.

It will be a long time before we see thunderstorms of this intensity again in the UK, a truly awesome event.

VISIBLE 02.07.1999 17:00

VISIBLE 02.07.1999 17:00 Grid
INFRARED 02.07.1999 17:00
INFRARED 02.07.1999 17:00 Grid
COLOUR 02.07.1999 17:00
COLOUR 02.07.1999 17:00 Grid

VISIBLE 03.07.1999 04:20
VISIBLE 03.07.1999 04:20 Grid
INFRARED 03.07.1999 04:20
INFRARED 03.07.1999 04:20 Grid
COLOUR 03.07.1999 04:20
COLOUR 03.07.1999 04:20 Grid