Double Trouble: Severe Storms in West Michigan

8/14/15: West Michigan – The computer models had been showing a chance of severe storms for a few days. The SPC put out a Marginal Risk over lower Michigan and Wisconsin. This would be a backyard chase for me right here in west Michigan. Early morning clouds cleared out, which gave way to plenty of sunshine, which contributed to daytime heating and instability which would set the stage for strong/severe storms in the afternoon. A cumulus field appeared and eventually developed into a cluster of multi-cell storms containing hail, some of it large, strong wind gusts, lightning and heavy rainfall.

The first storm I intercepted was a hailstorm in the Greenville, MI area. This storm looked menacing as it moved in, and had lots of scud clouds along the leading edge of the gust front. Some of them looked suspicious, but I did not see rotation. There was some lightning with this, but not too much where I was. I let the storm overtake me, and I positioned north a couple of miles to intercept a stout hail core. The video below is of the first severe storm that produced all of the hail and heavy rainfall, also some beastly structure. There was some urban flooding as well after the storm had passed. The photos below the video are of the first severe storm that moved through from start to finish.

After sending footage off to my broker, Live Storms Media, I ventured north to intercept another severe storm moving southeast out of Lakeview, MI. This storm also had some beautiful structure with it. This storm was mostly photogenic instead of extremely powerful. I followed it back down to Greenville before abandoning it. I probably should have stayed with it as it strengthened into a nice rotating supercell one county to the south in Ionia County, but the scenes I witnessed were quite amazing. Especially the mammatus display at sunset. That was stunning! Video of the beautifully structured storm, a nice rainbow, and some lightning is below. Right below that is a collection of photos of the 2nd storm, the rainbow, and mammatus display. All in all a great local chase day!!

Storm Report Verification from the SPC

Chuck Russell

I shoot photos and videos of various different types of events related to weather, nature, motorsports, breaking news, and more and share what I capture with the world at

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