Strong Grungy Storms 9/3/15

9/3/15 – This was an interesting day. Elevated storms came through in the early morning associated with a wave of low pressure. The amount of debris clouds leftover from the morning convection limited the severe potential for later in the afternoon. SPC had a general thunderstorm risk across the region. A few storms did go severe warned though, and a few others reached strong criteria. I got into some of the grungy stronger storms which offered up some interesting structure. The clouds were not of supercellular nature, but they exhibited a lot of similar features given the ample moisture, some CAPE, and shear to sustain them. I meandered around Stanton, MI mostly, and stayed in Montcalm County to document what I could of the storms. They weren’t extremely impressive, so I didn’t want to travel very far. Below is a video of the storms, and also a collection of photos, some of which look quite ominous. One of the images is a wedge tornado lookalike. No confirmation of any damage, … Read More…


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 … Read More…


Electra, TX Supercell – Lawton, OK Flooding 5/8/15

5/8/15 – This was the first day of a short “chasecation” weekend with my buddy Michael Gavan. We were talking about heading down to the plains a few days prior, noting the chances for severe weather to come for Fri/Sat/Sun. The setup looked promising, so we decided to partner up and head out for some good days of storm chasing. Loaded up his Toyota RAV4 and hit the road. We took turns driving all night/day from Allegan County, Michigan all the way to north Texas. We slept in shifts, and for a brief time, stopped at a Walmart parking lot among some semi truck drivers for a 30 minute or so nap. A long grueling, tiresome drive, but well worth it to see some storm action. The drive was about 16 hours long, not including stops for gas, bathroom breaks, or to stretch. Storms began firing and most of which were really junky, and you couldn’t see much. Some of which also had trouble sustaining themselves. The storms we saw … Read More…


2014 Storm Chasing Highlights

2014 was a really interesting year in regards to storm chasing for me. There were a number of firsts. Initially I wasn’t going to do much chasing, and concentrate on other things such as Fishing Pleasures, and a few other projects. Throughout the year, I did get out to experience a number of great weather events though. The year was off to a slow start, not much happening in March. Just cold and boring. By the time April rolled around though, some truly awesome weather events took place. April 12th was one of the coolest chase days I can ever remember for me here in Michigan. Intercepted 2 very photogenic storm cells, saw accumulating hail, and beautifully structured storms coming over the fields. I was able to get some nice time lapses. This was also the first time I ever saw hail accumulate to such an extent here in Michigan. In late April I went against my initial plans of not leaving my home state, to join some friends on … Read More…


Heavy Rain and Urban Flooding

9/1/14 – With a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast for the day, and high precipitable water values across the area, I knew that if any storms developed, they would be putting down quite a bit of rain, and that is exactly what happened. I had been looking at computer models and other data in the days leading up to the storm day. I didn’t think there would be a lot in the severe weather department, at least not for my immediate area, so I decided to concentrate more on the wind and rain element of the storms. I figured a decaying line of convection would be moving toward lower Michigan during the morning hours, and a new line of storms would fire up ahead of that area of decaying convection. That is exactly what transpired. The storms took a little while to get their act together, but once they did, they packed a punch in many areas. Here’s a radar image of the storms as they moved through my … Read More…


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…


November Squall Line 11/17/13

A rare late season severe weather and tornado outbreak occurred across the Midwest/Great Lakes/Ohio Valley region on November 17, 2013. The SPC issued a rare (for this late in the year) Moderate Risk area, but then upgraded to an even more rare (for this time of the year especially) High Risk area for severe weather. Including tornadoes. A widespread outbreak of severe weather did indeed occur on November 17th. Lucky for us here in Michigan, we escaped the worst of it. But that didn’t mean we were spared completely as a powerful squall line with a few embedded areas of rotation and a few EF-0 tornado touchdowns blasted the area. I positioned myself NNE of Greenville to intercept a more powerful part of the squall line. The area I chose was nearly perfect as I was cored with hail which ranged anywhere from pea size to quarter size. The majority was penny size. At times I found it difficult to see more than a couple hundred feet as the high … Read More…


Heavy Rain, Rural Flooding, and Crocus Flowers

Flooding and Crocuses

After watching computer models like a hawk, forecasting and pinpointing until my brain was fried, and losing a ton of sleep, came today (Thursday). The SPC had us in a Moderate Risk. All signs pointed to high winds, hail, and tornadoes, except for a couple of minor details. Overnight (Wednesday into Thursday) more precipitation than previously anticipated developed and trained over the area. This never allowed the atmosphere to destabilize properly. I awoke to a Tornado Watch and a severe warned line of thunderstorms blasting into west Michigan in the late AM hours, only to die off and nothing ever re-fired in my area after that. The Tornado Watch was quickly canceled as well. I saw this scenario possibly coming to fruition in the early AM hours of Thursday (4/18/13) so I called off the chase for today. A smart move on my part, as I would have busted horribly. Heavy rain was the headline, along with flooding. We picked up a substantial amount of rainfall from this system. In … Read More…