The image below from the Australian Bureau of Meteorology shows several thunderstorms in southeast Queensland today and the directions they are expected to move.

I'm surprised how different these directions are. I had imagined that

  • the main influence on a storm's trajectory would be high level winds, and
  • the high level winds would be relatively uniform in such an area, being unaffected by geographical features (hills, rivers).

But that doesn't seem to fit with this evidence.

What factors influence the direction of a storm's movement?

Thunderstorms in south-east Queensland

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    $\begingroup$ i am presuming there is involvement of friction and that plays a role in the storm movement especially in the planetary boundary layer. $\endgroup$ – gansub Dec 31 '17 at 9:55
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    $\begingroup$ earth.nullschool.net in no way answers your question, but looks really cool. $\endgroup$ – user967 Jan 1 '18 at 13:08
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    $\begingroup$ I would expect vertical convection to play important role $\endgroup$ – Gabija Jan 2 '18 at 9:21
  • $\begingroup$ @Gabija Would you suggest that the type of ground cover and terrain would influence the convection and thereby the direction? $\endgroup$ – John Jan 2 '18 at 21:25
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    $\begingroup$ @John I think 2nd chapter in this paper (journals.ametsoc.org/doi/pdf/10.1175/…) suggests that at least their origin depends on convection caused by topography. $\endgroup$ – Gabija Jan 3 '18 at 10:16

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