Large Hail and Severe Wind 5/20/13

Curious Appendage 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. There was a report of wind damage (power poles snapped) in the direction I saw this appendage, and I will be posting an analysis of what I saw, complete with images and videos, and then I will link it to the GRR NWS for evaluation. I will link the analysis here in this entry also when I’m finished. It could have been a brief spin up type of tornado in between radar scans. Though the base velocity did show some weak rotation in the area of the wind damage report.

Below is the video from the entire day’s chase which includes a shelf cloud, the cell merger, blowing dust, heavy rain, severe wind, rain blowing across fields, large hail (quarter size and a few stones a bit bigger), and some flash flooding in a parking lot. Below that are a few photos from the day. Hope you enjoy those! I also want to point out that this particular chase was funded in pat by the Charlesimages-Stomedia fans and friends who I greatly thank for covering some of the gas money when I was running low!

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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