Welcome to the Blackheath Weather Legends Series. This series will focus on the 'Weather Legends' that have given so much to the community over the decades. Over time, we will also consider doing interviews on other themes, like 'Local Legends'.
Nick Moir is an international and national award winning photographer, specialising in severe storms , bushfires and other environmental phenomena. Chief Photographer, The Sydney Morning Herald.
Interview 1 - Andrew Miskelly
Andrew is a Developer at Weatherzone with many years of experience in that field. Andrew is one of the best weather minds that I know and is more than worthy to be included in the Blackheath Weather Legends Interview Series.
1/ What is your first weather memory?
I started paying attention to the weather when my folks bought a place in Taralga in the NSW Southern Tablelands. So, probably freezing winter weather in its various forms!
2/ What is your most significant weather memory or one of your favourites?
I went to university in Wollongong and was there for the floods in August 1998 and the genesis of what became the infamous Sydney hailstorm of April 1999. When I first saw the lightning produced by the latter, I was convinced that something had blown up at Port Kembla steelworks.
3/ When did you first actively get involved in studying/learning about the weather?
The seed was sown when, as a child, I was awestruck by the tornado in The Wizard of Oz (the muslin sock from 1939 made a better twister than any CGI I've yet seen). Later, I wanted to know when and why it was going to snow in Taralga.
The internet then came along and, thanks to bulletin boards, forums and social media, weather enthusiasts have never looked back!
4/ Do you have a favourite type of weather? Why does it appeal to you?
It's hard to choose between evening thunderstorms in summer, and the onset of a big winter cold front.
I suppose the common thread is being able to observe structure and effects. A system building, maturing and changing the character of the day.
5/ In this moment, if you could click your fingers, where would you go to experience some fascinating weather?
In another life (and when humans were required for such things), I could see myself being an observer at one of the remote weather stations. There's nothing like remoteness to make you feel immersed in the weather.
6/ Do you have any frightening or intense weather stories?
Walking above the treeline in the Kosciuszko National Park during a thunderstorm is invigorating. My wife and I were up there with a friend on New Year's Day in 2012 when a thunderstorm produced not only lightning but a funnel cloud and hail. Happily, we weren't far from Seaman's Hut and were able to shelter there.
7/ What has the weather taught you about life? Are there lessons or themes that have enriched your life?
Weather teaches me, repeatedly, to be comfortable with not always knowing and not always being in control. I expect that, thanks to the reality of "chaos", we'll never quite get a handle on what the weather's going to do next and I like that.
8/ If you could have a t-shirt with the best weather photo ever on the front of it, what would it be?
There have been some stunning low precipitation supercells in the United States this season.
9/ Would you wear cloud socks, if someone gave them to you?
Yes, but only on my feet.
10/ If you could design a piece of weather jewellery for yourself or a friend, what would it look like?
Cauliflower hail crystal earrings.
11/ Do you have a favourite weather related song or certain music that connects you to the weather?
Ever since I first heard it, U2's song "Exit", from The Joshua Tree, has evoked in me the image of a thunderstorm.
It has an eerie and ominous buildup and a chaotic crescendo. Larry Mullen Jr. produces peals of thunder on the toms and "flangs" on the cymbals. It ends with calm - and crickets.
The whole album is evocative of a part of the world famous for its thunderstorms.