Adam Hourigan?s photo of the storm front as it heads to Maclean.
Adam Hourigan?s photo of the storm front as it heads to Maclean.

Super storms are coming

By JURIS GRANEY

EVERYONE has been amazed at the amount of storm activity that has pounded the Valley over the past month.

The only person not amazed is University of Newcastle's science and technology academic Martin Babakhan.

And while most old-time locals are struggling to remember similar periods of intense activity, with up to three storms buffeting the region each week, Mr Babakhan said it is just the be- ginning of something more 'extreme'.

Gone are the days of your normal, run-of-the mill thunderstorm, Mr Babakhan said, say hello to the 'super thunderstorm'.

No, it is not something from an apocalyptic movie, but a reality that everyone must be aware, and wary of.

"The reality is, the thunderstorms that we have always been used to and recognisable are changing," Mr Babakhan said from his Steel City office this week.

"We are used to air mass thunderstorms that last for about half an hour, now though they persist during the night. When there is no solar energy, how can they do that?

"Quite simply, a super thunderstorm creates its own energy, it creates its own environment.

"About 90 per cent of damage caused to properties can be attributed to super thunderstorms and that is what we are getting more of."

Mr Babakhan said with the gradual change in Australia's climate, we should expect more extreme storms, droughts and floods.

And Mr Babakhan said we, as part of an industrialised world, were addding to our own problems.

"We are changing the whole landscape as we know it," he said.

"We are developing areas that were not meant to be developed, we are putting down concrete everywhere which adds heat and we are just feeding bigger and bigger problems.

"This is a very important issue. These super thunderstorms are deadly."



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