Weather Blog

Upside-down storms can do damage too...

Upside-down storms can do damage too...

As the Pacific Northwest deals with a stretch of stormy weather this week, I suppose it could be worse.

A frequent blog reader who is living here now but from New Zealand sent me a great article highlighting a storm that rolled into Wellington on March 12.

The photos there are incredible, but check out these videos I found on YouTube documenting the storm as it rolled onshore. (Some of these are sped up in time lapse format):

Wind gusts in the storm were measured at 130 km/hr (about 80 mph), along with 4,300 lightning strikes and about an inch of rain within a few hours.

But what, as the headline alludes, makes this an "upside-down" storm? Well, it's tongue-in-cheek. In the Southern Hemisphere, storms spin clockwise, as opposed to counter-clockwise here due to the reversal of the Coriolis Force. (It's the same reason why toilets flush backwards in Australia, right? Umm, wrong!.)

Plus, since the Southern Hemisphere is inverted from the Northern Hemisphere -- i.e., the north is warm and the south is cold, the storms "appear" on satellite to be upside down to the regular Northern Hemisphere viewer.

Want proof? Here is a recent satellite image showing a storm off the southwest Australian coast. And below that is an image from our storm on Friday. See how it's flipped?

But not matter which way the storm is pointing or spinning, Mother Nature sure can be ornery!