Thunderstorm Asthma in Melbourne

In the evening of Monday 21 November, strong thunderstorms marked the beginning of a cool change in southern Victoria. Sadly, the thunderstorms caused the rare phenomenon “thunderstorm asthma” which claimed the life of six people until Monday 28 November. The theory of “thunderstorm asthma” is that pollen grains absorb moisture during a thunderstorm and then burst into smaller fragments. While larger pollen grains are usually filtered by hairs in the nose, the smaller pollen fragments pass through and enter the lungs, triggering the asthma attack.

Meteorologically, the cold front brought a cool change from 35.9 degrees on 21 November to 14.9 degrees on 22 November. In Laverton (VIC) the 24 hour rainfall accumulated to 11.6 mm on 22 November. The passage of the cold front itself was associated with wind gusts of up to 89 km/h. Our weather cam in St. Kilda captured the passage of the thunderstorms.

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