Storm Near Bunbury?

Some amazing pictures of a tornado have been doing the rounds. According to the info that accompanies them, these are "Photos of storm near Bunbury" (which is in Australia), although the text also notes that "you'd swear these were taken in america's mid west / tornado belt..." This has started some discussion on alt.folklore.urban, as people try to locate exactly where these photos were taken. The scenery does look a lot like the midwest.

image image image

Photos Places

Posted on Fri May 20, 2005


We did have a devestating tornado the other day in Bunbury. Half the town was destroyed. We also had a whole heap of little ones go through Perth causing minor damage. Bunbury does have scenery like that but I don't read the paper often enough to know if photo's like that were published over here. If they were real, I'm sure they would have been published here.
I'll ask around.
Posted by Nettie  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  10:03 AM
I've lived in the American midwest my whole life and our tornado pictures don't look like that. The formations just look strange...
Posted by J  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  10:11 AM
well, there has been some really freaky weather in australia.
in brisbane they had a huge hail storm feet deep and raidars didnt sense it till half an hour before and ice was all over football fields and stuff.
and besides if you live there you would know
Posted by teryn  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  02:30 PM
Nettie and Smerk: there's no place like home, there's no place like home... and your little dog, too
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  02:40 PM
Scenery? The only 'scenery' is some flat land, a few trees and a road. Do you really think the USA's midwest is the only place on the planet that looks like that?!
Posted by Wendy  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  04:09 PM
Correct me if I am wrong, but tornados in Australia rotate counter clockwise, just as water goes down the drain counter clockwise in the southern hemisphere.

Rotation in these photos isn't that easy to see, but in the third photo (flush right) and possibly the first (flush left) it's pretty clear the rotation is in fact counter clockwise.

Of course, they could have easily flipped the photo horizontally...
Posted by Brenner Thomas  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  04:11 PM
"...water goes down the drain counter clockwise in the southern hemisphere"

I'm afraid that's an urban legend.
Posted by Peter  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  04:37 PM
There may be a place called Bunbury, but Bunbury is also the name of the nonexistent person Ernest is always running off to visit in "The Importance of Being Ernest."
Posted by Big Gary  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  06:03 PM
This shot makes it look like the truck in the middle-ground is driving on the right side (wrong for Australia) of the road. It's real hard to tell though and this picture doesn't help any since the cars are too far away to tell which side they're on. I saw a lot of Austrailia a few years ago and plenty that looked like the midwest US.
Posted by Reinstag  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  06:06 PM
Dude, the whole water-swirl-latitude thing is not an urban legend... it goes more straight down near the equator, and swirls faster in the respective direction as you approach the further latitudes... Some toilets, however, have a directional swirl in the design, which counteracts the gravitational swirl... but if you use a large sink or tub, you can measure the increased swirl speed at further latitudes... don't make me prove it- i don't feel like it
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  06:14 PM
Cool pictures... explains why Smerk has been "in side" lately...
Posted by Mark-N-Isa  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  06:31 PM
well that street sign looks pretty australian to me...
Posted by Hew  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  07:47 PM
The corealis effect works for large phenomenon like storms, but is insignificant for small scale systems like water draining. So it's true for storms, false for sinks...
Posted by Wally  on  Fri May 20, 2005  at  07:55 PM
I agree.. looks like that truck is on the wrong side of the road for Australia.. I'd say it's the Midwest as well.
Posted by mizzouri  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  12:01 AM
Wally is right Harry. The corealis effect deals with low/high pressure areas. It goes the direction it goes because air is trying to travel into a low pressure area, but because the earth is spinning, it misses and then tries to rush into the low pressure area again, etc...causing a circling effect.

Ok, that's definitely not in scientific terms, but that's the way I understand it. Someone else is free to correct anything in there that is wrong, or explain it better.

The point though, is that the corealis effect should have no effect on something like water in a toilet.
Posted by Razela  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  12:03 AM
A search on Google for 'bunbury storm' produces a link to a story in 'The Australian' which mentions a recent storm in Bunbury. This page is full of Australians debating these photographs:

It also includes what appear to be photographs of the aftermath. Being Australian, the forum participants can't express themselves very well, and so it's not really helpful. We'll have to wait until Snopes gets holds of this to know for sure.
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  06:36 AM
Ashley, how bout 'shut the fuck up'. Is that expressing myself clearly.
Posted by Nettie  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  09:11 AM
Oh dear nettie. :red:
Posted by Charybdis  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  09:22 AM
sorry I don't like people being nasty to us aussies. Sorry Chary, did it lower your opinion of me???
Posted by Nettie  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  09:58 AM
Having said that, it is an *angling* forum, so they probably aren't the cream of the crop... the tastiest fish in the catch, my little joke there. I want to stress that I don't think any less of the people there, just because they're Australian; I'm sure they make up for it in other ways.
Posted by Ashley Pomeroy  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  11:15 AM
The storm photos are a hoax--they are from the collection of 2004 storm photos on the Extreme Instability site. They were in Iowa, USA, not Bunbury, and can be seen in their original state here:

Posted by shel  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  12:26 PM
you guys have certainly deminished the credibility though meteorological analysis...
I debated these photos last night, through knowing the south west region very well, this is definately not the landscape or cloud formations seen in even the worst storms. The road aggregate colour, lack of fencing, yellow road line, road sign, housing style, driving side, and most of all crops (what appear to be fence-less corn and pineapples crops!!!) All pointing to bullshit 😊
Posted by kim  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  01:31 PM
Kimmy come home i miss you Honey Buns!
Posted by Kim's Mum  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  06:23 PM
the one clear conclusion: there are a bunch of idiots out there who chase storms like the ones in the pictures, just to take more pictures.
Posted by piercedfreak  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  07:53 PM
Sometimes, PiercedFreak, the Storms chase the Idiots
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  08:00 PM
Okay, I didn't mean to suggest that people chased by storms are idiots, so don't go there. What are you supposed to do if a big storm goes by? Not take a picture cuz somebody will think you are an idiot who chased it? No, you'd take that pic. I would. Urrrrrrrrrf
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  08:04 PM
I mean, what if it wasn't a big storm, but The Full Moon, that came up, and you could take a picture of it? With its silver light bathing the valley, calling to you, telling you to run and get up on the hill to get closer to her, so you can HOWWWL and HOWWWWLL until your chest explodes? That would make a good picture... ggrr
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Sat May 21, 2005  at  08:08 PM
Darn. Too late to really make much of a difference to the discussion. My sister told me about these pics this arvo, and we've established that they are not pics of tornadoes over Bunbury. Biggest problem being that the main tornado over Bunbury happened at 6am, a good 45 minutes before dawn!!
Posted by Smerk  on  Sun May 22, 2005  at  03:39 AM
I'm in Perth, Western Australia. Strange I just saw this entry. I just watched a report on the local news about a waterspout just off the coast of Perth last evening. Of course, it didn't look anywhere as spectacular as these pics, but there's been some unusual weather around here over the last few days.
Posted by balster neb  on  Sun May 22, 2005  at  04:14 AM
Tornadoes spin both clockwise and anti-clockwise, there is just more of one than the other in each hemisphere.
Posted by Les  on  Sun May 22, 2005  at  07:45 PM
What I find most amazing, is that almost three quarters of the pictures are not of tornados at all, but of mesocyclones.
Posted by Gilvain  on  Sun May 22, 2005  at  08:45 PM
There certainly is a place called Bunbury, in Western Australia - a small coastal town approx, 30,000 people and I live here ..........
We certainly did have a huge tornado here on Monday 16th May - and it did cause a lot of damage - including moving a cathedral off its foundations. The pictures you can see of house, business damage are definately real - I can give street addresses for these.
The pictures of the "actual" tornado ?? I don't believe these are local - for a start it was pitch dark (6.10 am) when it hit - and is only recorded as being 100m across but it did 'hit' a swath of damage along a 10Km 'stretch'. The "landscape" in those photo's is totally strange to me !!.
Posted by maureen  on  Sun May 22, 2005  at  11:29 PM
Damn strange weather we've been having lately. First it's water restrictions, now massive storms and tornados.
Posted by Soldant  on  Mon May 23, 2005  at  01:18 AM
And despite the storms, we'll still be on water restrictions for the foreseeable future. The weather bureau is still saying that it's going to be a drier than average winter here in Perth.

And looking at this week's forecast, I'll believe it - no rain predicted until this time next week!
Posted by Smerk  on  Mon May 23, 2005  at  01:31 AM
I work for the Western Australian Agriculture Department. One of the photos has an unfenced suger crop in it. bunbury has no sugar crops, and no unfenced crops. These ARE very fake.
Posted by tom  on  Mon May 23, 2005  at  05:38 AM
I did a round up a while ago of storm photos that had been floating around that day

I put them together on a site so you can see the real storm...
Posted by t00l  on  Mon May 23, 2005  at  07:36 AM
Okay, let me straighten some of you out, Otay? The Coriolis Effect refers to the effect of moving bodies in relation to the rotation of the Earth... that's all fine and dandy when we talk about the atmosphere, but we are talking about a downward, gravity-driven movement, turned into rotation not by the movement of the atmoshere in relation to the Earth's rotation, but by its relative latitudinal postion to the Earth's poles. It's a gravity-driven process, not a deflective process of the atmosphere. Damn. Read a book
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon May 23, 2005  at  05:21 PM
Okay, final clarification: The storm rotation? Coriolis Effect. Yes. Definately. The sink/drain rotation? Relative Latitude. Okay? Okay. Quiz on this tomorrow, so cram big-time. That's my motto: Cram It.
Posted by Hairy Houdini  on  Mon May 23, 2005  at  05:39 PM
harry are you sure? I just tried to look it up on the internet, here's some webpages I found:
and here's another one:
there's a whole bunch by just googling "coriolis effect"
It's caused by a deflection process by the earth's rotation. Are you maybe thinking of tides?
Posted by Razela  on  Mon May 23, 2005  at  08:27 PM
Or do I just not understand it at all. As I wrote in my first post on it, I can't pretend to be an expert, that's just the way I've always understood it. I could just be misinterpreting it.
Posted by Razela  on  Mon May 23, 2005  at  08:28 PM
After living in the US for the best part of 2001 and growing up in Australia. Let me blow some myths for the US readers.
Kangaroos generally don't roam the streets of Australia.
Sydney is not the capital
The water spins in the opposite direction in Australia as it drains from sinks and toilets.
Posted by Karz  on  Mon May 23, 2005  at  10:40 PM
Hi, these are categorically NOT photos from the storm in Westerm Australia recently - apart from the fact that it is inconceivable that none of our parochial little media outlets (print or electronic) have run these photographs, I'd draw your attention to the vehicles in two of the photos - they're driving on the right-hand side of the road (we drive on the left)! Sorry guys, these ain't from here! Brian
Posted by Brian  on  Tue May 24, 2005  at  08:50 PM
Bleeding heck, how many more times do we have to post this: The storm photos are a hoax--they are from the collection of 2004 storm photos on the Extreme Instability site. They were in Iowa, USA, not Bunbury, and can be seen in their original state here:
Posted by shel  on  Wed May 25, 2005  at  10:37 AM
Well, the corn is not setting, and the rapseed isn't flowering, because in Asutralia it is coming on to winter. They are a hoax, and great to look at!
Posted by anneebp  on  Wed May 25, 2005  at  09:47 PM
The tornado was real alright, there has been untold damage, but it has only effected some parts of the town.
I do agree that the above pictures are strange as I can not recognise any scenery.
Posted by Erik van Garderen  on  Thu May 26, 2005  at  08:48 AM
From the perspective of a storm chaser here in Texas, I would say that the several pictures I've seen of this particular "Bunbury Storm" appear to be different storms. I also believe these to be in the Midwest also. While I'm not very familiar with the geography of WESTERN AUSTRALIA, I'd say that the frontal boundary would have had to be very significant to cause the convection needed to generate a super cell like the one in these photos. Smaller storms can be tornadic too, but don't usually look like this one. The rotation is definately counter clockwise, which also suggests this was in the Northern Hemisphere, although, there was a storm a few years back in Paris TX I think, that actually rotated the oposite direction, so this can't be ruled out. The 6 or 7 photos I've seen appear to be at different times of the year (Harvest) and at different times of the day. Typically, the storm reaches maturity, does the damage and disipates rather rapidly. Although very rare, this storm appears to have a very long life especially as the meso-cyclone (wall cloud) is so close to the ground during broad daylight, and there is not much disipation between then and sunset. My vote is these are a couple of mid summer storms in the south central plains here in the US. Trust me, it's no honor to have one of these knocking on your door.
Posted by Mike Bartils  on  Thu May 26, 2005  at  11:50 PM
Hi everyone, i live in Mandurah WA and copped some pretty harsh effects from the storm, and looking at the supposed bunbury photos it would be rather cool to think that a storm like that passed over us, but i don't think so. It has been brought to my attention that a few cars in one of the photos are actually driving on the opposite road to what we do here in Australia. And i have spent a lot of time in Bunbury having grown up in the area, and that is not Bunbury landscape, not at all. They were cool pictures though
Posted by Emma  on  Sat May 28, 2005  at  07:18 AM
Hey, i also realised that after i posted my fact revealing letter, that someone has also ready mentioned the same facts as what i did. Lets just say, im sitting at home drinking Southern Comfort and having a hell of a blonde day. Cheers.
Posted by Emma  on  Sat May 28, 2005  at  07:20 AM
hello everyone i am from bunbury and there is only one of these photo that look remotely like "bunno"

one of these photos have a paddock and in the paddock is a nice big green crop of something. in bunbury we are not in the growing season yet and we are just about to seed which means put the seed in the ground now this crop in the photo looks like its ready to be harvested people dont believe these photos. bunbury is not like these at all
Posted by peta  on  Sun May 29, 2005  at  01:55 AM
Going from orientation of the road signs this has to be taken in America or some country where they drive on the right side of the road. That should put Australia out of the running.
Posted by TJ  on  Tue May 31, 2005  at  09:45 AM
Comments: Page 1 of 2 pages  1 2 > 
Commenting is not available in this channel entry.