Supercell Drops Golf Ball Size Hail 4/29/14

4/29/14 – This was a day that I had been watching on the computer models for days. Mainly the NAM. The forecast model runs showed a scenario of a warm front moving through lower Michigan with an associated low pressure. The triple point was fairly close by, so I knew the potential would be there. Most often times when we get a good warm front setup in Michigan, a couple of more dominant cells will fire off and become long track. That is exactly what happened. Earlier in the day there were a few scattered thunderstorms. One went severe warned on the Lake Michigan shoreline, and eventually more storms began to fill in a little better across the rest of the area. One storm went severe warned and had a classic “flying eagle” look on radar, but as it outran the shear and instability, it died. Below are a couple of images of that cell. I chased after it, but knew it would end up dying so I left it at about midway through it’s lifespan.

After that, I had some errands to run. The storms to my west didn’t look extremely impressive. There was another severe warned cell but it was too far west for me to go after. So I figured I had some time. Toward the end of my errand running, I drove to the other side of town and up a hill. I looked back over to my west and there was this massive thunderstorm with awesome structure and even some radar indicated rotation! I hurried to finish up, and began my trek back through town. Unfortunately, I got stuck in heavy traffic, and hit every single red light in town trying to get through. I couldn’t catch up to the storm, so I just got scraped by the tail end. Up near Lakeview, I was treated to some large hail, some of which was golf ball size! Most of it was a little less than that though. I watched as the supercell tracked quickly northeastward away from me. I saw some nice structure on it. The hail came down pretty good, and I was able to get right out of my truck after it fell to collect some. Below you will see my video, and also a collection of photos. You will see the amazing structure I missed while being stuck in town. I wouldn’t call this chase a bust, but it definitely could have been way better. I also got a shot of a small thunderstorm on the way back home (last pic) Enjoy!

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

Comments are closed.