photographer Mike ONeill
“Hector is the name given to a cumulonimbus, or thundercloud, that forms regularly nearly every afternoon on the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, Australia, from approximately September to March each year. Hector, or sometimes “Hector the Convector”, is known as one of the world’s most consistently large thunderstorms, reaching heights of approximately 20 kilometres (66,000 ft).
Named by pilots during thesecond world war, the recurring position of the thunderstorm made it a navigational beacon for pilots and mariners in the region. Hector is caused primarily by a collision of severalsea breeze boundaries across the Tiwi Islands and is known for its consistency and intensity. Lightning rates and updraft speeds are notable aspects of this thunderstorm and during the 1990s National Geographic Magazine published a comprehensive study of the storm with pictures of damaged trees and details of updraft speeds and references totornadic events.
Since the late 1980s the thunderstorm has been the subject of many meteorological studies, many centered on Hector itself but also utilising the consistency of the storm cell to study other aspects of thunderstorms and lightning.”