Storm Chasing Chasecation 2016

This entry is overdue, and I am still going through all of the footage from May 23 – May 25, but I will get there, with time. Individual chase logs will be posted at a later date(s)! Well, where do I even start? These were amazing days of chasing the plains. I was out there with my good friend Cort Scholten, who has wanted to chase with me for years, but we never could pull it off before. This year, we made it work, and headed out to the plains in search of severe storms, and tornadoes. The drive was long, and tiring, coming all the way from Michigan, but it was worth it. The first day, we targeted the Texas panhandle region. It was a dryline setup, which meant big, beefy storms that would barely move, and drop lots of rain and hail, perhaps a few tornadoes. Although we missed the tornadoes on this day, we saw some pretty amazing stuff, including some great lightning strikes, heavy rainfall, high … Read More…


Northern Illinois Tornadoes 4/9/15

**FULL CHASE VIDEO BELOW** – Scroll down below the video to read the story, and see all of the photos from this chase. In this video you will see our chase from start to finish. The first small cells, a wall cloud we got underneath, and then the massive wedge tornado which we chased for miles. At one point we even hydroplaned, but CJ gathered it up like a champion, all the while I never took my focus off the tornado while filming it. Toward the end of the video, you’ll see 2 tornadoes on the ground at once. One was a satellite. Intense chase day!! Enjoy the video. 4/9/15 – Where do I begin? This was such an amazing chase day. So many great times, and so many great sights. Prior to this chase day, there was a whole lot of computer model watching, and trying to decide which model was going to be correct, or at least, close to correct. There were difference among the models all the … 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…


Large Hail and Severe Wind 5/20/13

The first day home after my plains chase weekend, there was a Slight Risk for severe weather posted up for areas of lower Michigan by the SPC (Storm Prediction Center). All of the ingredients were in place for thunderstorm development. It was only a matter of time before storms fired off. I waited until the afternoon hours, and one storm fired up in Muskegon, and it was on from there as an entire line of storms began developing. The line had individual cells embedded within it, and a few of those showed brief rotation as they merged and congealed into an MCS (Mesoscale Convective System). Some of the cells attempted to stay more discrete, but eventually were absorbed into the MCS. It wasn’t long and my target storm became severe warned for severe wind gusts and large hail (radar indicated). I got into position for an intercept. I witnessed a shelf cloud, and also a curious appendage hanging down below one of the individual thunderstorm updrafts within the cell merger. … Read More…


Kansas Tornadoes, Supercells, and Mammatus

May 19, 2013 – After scoring big on May 18, 2013, we started day 2 of our chase a little less frantically. We had some time to position and go over data and surface observations that morning, and also post up a few photos on facebook from the day prior. We knew that it would be another good chase day, but we also knew that storm modes would be different. Faster motion, and storms would congeal into an MCS faster than the day before. So we were prepared for what was in store for the day. We drove a bit further east from where we ended up the day before. The SPC had once again issued a Moderate Risk for the day. We staged in Newton, KS, and had a friend visitor. A Grackle. Then we made our way down to an RC plane park in Wichita, KS to hang out with Michael Phelps for a bit before initiation. Justin Hoyt and Bill Kirkpatrick showed up as well, and we … Read More…


Rozel and Sanford, KS Tornadoes 5/18/13

May 18, 2013 – Earlier in the week, I had been asked if I wanted to accompany my friend Michael Gavan on a storm chasing trip for the weekend. The computer models were in good agreement that there would be severe weather on the weekend of May 18-19. The SPC had put out convective outlooks during the 4-8 day period also. They were talking about the potential for severe weather, including large hail, damaging wind gusts, and of course, tornadoes. After much thought and planning, I accepted Michael’s invitation, and on Friday afternoon, we left Michigan en route to Kansas. We stopped in Springfield, Illinois and stayed overnight for some shuteye, knowing we’d have a marathon drive the next morning to get to our target area. On Saturday morning we made our way through the remainder of Illinois, and into Missouri. We experienced some dense fog on the way there. Less than 1/4 mile visibility in western Illinois. Once we crossed the Mississippi River the fog decreased significantly, and with … Read More…


“Earth Eater” Supercell – Paducah, TX – 5/30/12

On May 30, 2012 we were in Texas tracking the potential of severe weather. There was a Moderate Risk of severe weather, mainly for Oklahoma, however, we decided to play the southwest corner of the Slight Risk area in northern Texas. (If you want to see video, photos, and screenshots, scroll down) There were 2 distinct supercells. You can see that clearly here in this Radar Loop of the storms. The first big supercell fires, goes tornado warned, and drops a tornado in Paducah, TX, before shoving off to the SE. We passed through the town of Paducah, TX where we came across a grass fire in the distance (most likely caused by lightning) and some tornado damage. Most notably sheet metal that had been peeled away and scattered about. We also passed by a barn that housed classic cars that had taken a hit from the tornado. We were en route to the cell which had a history of large hail, damaging winds, and a tornado, until we noticed … Read More…


The Early Years: Digitally Retouched Storm Photos of 2003-2004

Recently I was going through boxes I picked up at storage and found my collection of weather images, snapped with various 35mm cameras, from my early years of interest in storm chasing and photography. I finally was able to get Mom’s scanner working, after discovering that my scanner, for whatever reason, is broken. It was a long process and it took a lot of troubleshooting but I was able to get it all done. I went through various photo albums and photo packs to find some of the better images from 2003-2004. Now of course, this isn’t close to all of my images, I still have a whole bag of 35mm film that needs to be developed. I just haven’t been able to afford to do it. I ran all of these through extensive editing in Paint.net, a free editing software, more advanced than Microsoft Paint, but less advanced than say, Adobe Photoshop or something similar. But it does a very good job. I enhanced the color and balance of … Read More…


8/22/11 – Ontario, CAN Tornado Analysis

Above Left – Photo of Tornado (CTVNews). Above Right – Damage photo (The Canadian Press, Geoff Robins/AP Photo) I have heard and read several comments in regards to the report of an alleged “Lake Effect Tornado” in Goderich, Ontario, Canada yesterday (8/21/11). As a Storm Chaser, I’m quick to question and analyze reports anyway, especially when relayed from the general public. I’m here to offer my in depth analysis about this alleged “Lake Effect Tornado” The SPC had a General T-Storm Risk issued. A decent upper level low was moving across the upper Great Lakes and southern Canada region. Near and ahead of this feature a chance of thunderstorms existed. Severe weather wasn’t anticipated, but anytime you get storms developing near a low pressure system with decent instability, it’s a possibility. A few thunderstorms had fired in the northern lower peninsula of Michigan, around the Straits of Mackinac. I closely monitored these on both GRLevel3, and the SPC’s Mesoanalysis page. Nothing seemed out of the ordinary, until the one parent … Read More…