Urban Flooding and Hail Event

8/1/14 – Today was a day that had low shear, but enough instability and forcing to pop up some pulse style showers and thunderstorms. There was enough CAPE to provide a hail and heavy rain risk. Normally I don’t even bother with these sorts of events, because of the random nature of the convection, but these were close enough to yield some good footage opportunities. The day started off mostly sunny, but cumulus clouds quickly filled in, and began to develop into showers and thunderstorms. The first ones popped up well to my north, and south. As the afternoon progressed however, some storms began to take shape right on top of me, and just a few miles to my west. I set out to document some hail originally, since I had been placed in a severe thunderstorm warning, mostly for a risk of large hail. As I began my trek westward into town, I got into some pea sized hail, and then the hail shifted south and the core fell … Read More…

After Shooting Cloud Time Lapses, I’m Forced To Take Cover!

7/27/14 – Today was a day that looked to be a stormy one. A low pressure was moving through the area, which was bringing with it the chance for widespread showers and thunderstorms. Not everywhere would get rain, but many places did. The folks who saw rain, saw a lot of it. Me included. I was sort of losing faith in storms firing in my immediate area, so I decided to go for a ride on my bicycle to get some photos and time lapses of the developing showers and storms. I was in a hole, vacant of any convective activity. I first observed some nice Mammatus clouds from a storm about 20 miles to my north. Then I began to watch as cumulus towers filled the sky directly over, and around me. Since none of these showed any immediate promise, I decided it was safe enough to go 2 or 3 miles down the road. The scenes I captured were quite lovely. The clouds’ bases were dark, and you … Read More…

3 Rainbows, Shelf Cloud, and a Sunset

7/15/14 – While under the influence of an unseasonably cool trough over the US, some showers and even a few thunderstorms developed within it’s cold pool. I had seen this coming for a few days prior thanks to the computer models, so I scheduled a bicycle ride for this day. I was hoping to see at least some halfway decent structure, and a rainbow. What I got was much more than that. I found all sorts of beautiful scenes, including 3 different rainbows, each one better than the last, a surprise shelf cloud, and some great nature and agricultural scenes. I began my day with a heavier rain shower, and I was able to get some video of that, and also my best action shot of rain falling ever. Later, I went cycling. My bike ride started off pretty well, saw a rain shower passing through, in the process of dying, but still created a nice scene. But it wouldn’t get really beautiful until I went further north. I found … Read More…

Illinois Supercell 4/28/14

4/28/14 – Earlier in the week, I had been asked by my friend Michael if I wanted to pool gas money for a storm chase in Illinois on 4/28/14. You may remember the last time I chased with Michael, we scored big on 5/18/13 and also 5/19/13. After looking at model data, and tossing the idea around, pulling some strings with a few other obligations I had, I decided late the night of the 27th, that I would be on board and ready to roll in the morning on 4/28. I only got about 3-4 hours of broken sleep, but isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? You’d be surprised at how little a storm chaser actually sleeps. After I drove down to the car pool lot, Michael picked me up, then we went and picked up our friend Tony, and Michael’s brother Shawn, and hit the road for Illinois. Initially we were trying to decide between two targets. I was thinking of targeting more up around Peoria, IL, Michael … Read More…

Severe Weather: Supercell, Hail Accumulation, Storm Damage

4/12/14 – Today was a day that had looked halfway decent on the computer models in regards to chances for storms for a few days prior to the event. As the time drew nearer, I began having some higher hopes that we’d see some pretty good storms around here. The WRF-NMM was being the most bullish, showing strong thunderstorms training across lower Michigan. As it would turn out, the WRF-NMM would come to be correct. Sometimes it’s that one, lone computer model that nails a forecast, while all of the others are out to lunch. Slowly but surely, the atmospheric parameters came together to create some great severe weather potential. The SPC had issued a 5% risk for hail and wind. 0% for tornadoes despite the somewhat favorable wind shear values which were conductive to a few rotating updrafts. One of which I was on. There are 3 sets of footage, so be sure to keep scrolling after viewing the first batch of media. Storm #1: The Supercell The first … Read More…

Time Lapse: Rain Showers and Sunset

4/11/14 – Today was a day with some potential for something photogenic to take place. Low potential, but some potential nonetheless. With a couple of computer models predicting some light showers developing going into the late afternoon and evening, I had my plans set to go document the weather. I figured I’d at least get a good sunset. I decided to make this a cycling adventure, as well as a weather documentation event. Once I was on the road, I knew it was shaping up to be a good evening. There was a patch of cumulus growing to my west. The sun angle was very nice shining through those. As I arrived to my filming spot, I was also surprised with how nice the rain showers were looking. They developed in relatively short order. I was treated to a very nice display of rain showers, clouds, and a sunset. As an added bonus, I found a large puddle in the field to use as a reflection for some of my … Read More…

Brilliant Sunset Time Lapse

4/10/14 – After a mostly cloudy day associated with a departing low pressure system, I noticed the edge of the cloud deck to my west creeping ever so closer. At first, I wasn’t sure what to expect. Would more clouds develop and ruin the potential for a beautiful sunset? Would the clouds even light up? Was the clearing line too far west? Lots of questions. But I timed the clouds, and positioned myself to capture what could be anyway. I’m a weather chaser, so yes, I chase weather of all types. Storms, snow, rain, clouds, and yes, even sunsets and rainbows! I love all different kinds of weather. So this sunset’s potential had me on alert. As I tracked the clouds in, the subtle colors began to show up, even before the sun had set below the deck of clouds. Right then, I knew I made a good call. Below, you can see a visible satellite animated gif of the clouds, and to the right of that, my position (red … Read More…

A Weather Time Lapse Day

4/8/14 – Today was a great day for weather time lapse! The conditions were nearly perfect for some light showers to develop. There was some instability present, albeit weak. SBCAPE was on the order of 100j/kg, and the Low Level Lapse Rates were impressive, up into the 8.5 range as I was shooting these showers. Below is a PYKL3 radar screenshot from my cell phone. (my general location is shown on the screenshot, I was actually a bit east of there) I’ve also included some mesoanalysis images. Left to right, SBCAPE, SB Lifted Index, MSLP, Low Level Lapse Rates, and PWAT. Click images for larger view. They did have a hard time overcoming the drier air at the surface, so much of the precipitation was in the form of Virga. But that made for even better time lapse footage. Also, as you can see in the first photo in this article, the persistent snow pile along the side of the road. It was, at one point, nearly 6 feet tall. … Read More…

What Storm Chasing Means To Me

What Storm Chasing Means To Me To me, storm chasing means experiencing the thrill and excitement of heading out into the unknown. From the fields of Michigan (my home state) to the open plains and everywhere in between. The forecasting, tracking, and positioning is as exciting, as it is stressful. But if you play your cards right, and nature is on your side, the rewards are truly amazing. It’s more than just what you do. It’s how you do it, how you feel. Emotionally, physically, and mentally. My goal is to experience mother nature at her best, or worst in many cases, and share my experiences with the world. No storm is the same. You could intercept 50 storms in a row, and every single one of them would be different in some way. That is part of the magic. It’s never boring, because there is always something new to see. Storms even have their own distinct scents. The smell of rain cooled air, the smell of wet dust. It’s … Read More…

Photogenic Showers + Time Lapse!

On October 19, 2013 I awoke to a patch of cumulus outside my window that looked somewhat photogenic. I drove to one of my favorite spots to better photograph them. Little did I know that I would be there for 2-4 hours snapping photos and recording videos for time lapse. Once the photogenic showers began, they just didn’t stop. One after the other, photo opportunities all around. Not only did I get to see rain showers, but I was also treated to a weak ragged shelf cloud along an outflow boundary. I was also treated to a large flock of Geese, and also several small flocks of Cranes. I did get photos of them, and videos too (videos of the Geese and Cranes will be posted at a later time. Look for them at THIS LINK). All in all it was a great day. The sunshine definitely played a role, more that just the destabilization, but also accented the scenes well. Below is a time lapse video of the rain … Read More…