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…


Severe Storms 8/2/15

8/2/15 – This was a day I had been waiting for. Finally, a really good chance of storms in lower Michigan. The computer forecast models all showed convection overspreading the region all day long, and congealing into a big squall line, then sagging south. That is exactly what happened. The day started off quiet in southern lower Michigan, but off to the north, things were already rocking. Strong to severe storms were already pounding the region with intense wind gusts, heavy rain, large hail and lightning. This activity would be what I waited patiently for as it moved down in my direction. There wasn’t much planning that went into this chase. It was pretty much just pick a spot along the advancing squall line, and hope for the best. I watched the storms for hours, and then I finally took off to the west to intercept a stronger part of the MCS (Mesoscale Convective System). On the way, I was treated to some glimpses of a very nice shelf cloud … Read More…


Strong Thunderstorm – Rockford, MI 6/8/15

After missing out on storms all day, I took a chance on a small rain shower with associated outflow boundary in the evening. This was part of a failed attempt that a storm made, trying to cross Lake Michigan. We were under the influence of a “lake shadow” most of the day. This also meant that our atmosphere hand’t been worked over by any convection, and there was still some instability around. I was on my way westward to pick up a boat I found on Craigslist for fishing, and on my way there, this once small shower, turned into a full fledged thunderstorm. Though this storm never became severe, it was still a strong storm, packing strong wind gusts, small hail, heavy rainfall and lightning. The structure wasn’t half bad either! A nice treat for a day when I thought I wasn’t going to see anything. This storm quickly died after sunset. I chased it south a few miles into the Rockford, MI area. It was moving pretty fast, … Read More…


Southwest Kansas Chase 5/9/15

***FULL CHASE VIDEO BELOW – SCROLL DOWN TO SEE PHOTOS AND READ THE FULL CHASE LOG*** The day started off with a drive north through some of the Wichita Mountains onward to southwestern Kansas from Lawton, Oklahoma. Along the way, we encountered some elevated convection, as well as a deck of Asperatus Clouds. These proved to be quite photogenic. As we moved northward, we were witness to some beautiful scenes, including this one just off the road somewhere in southwest Kansas of a CU field developing across the rolling plains. While waiting for initiation, Michael Gavan and I met up with Blaize Edwards, Jared Stevenson, and Amanda Ann at Presto in Sublette, KS. We talked, joked, laughed, and traded stories for a while. We saw some other chasers rolling through, and also talked to a few of the locals who were quite interested in what we were up to. After that, we were on the road to developing storms to our south. A couple of cells tried to fire closer … 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…


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…


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…


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…


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 … Read More…


Severe Weather: Supercell, Hail Accumulation, Storm Damage

4/12/14 – Today was a day that had looked halfway decent on the computer models in regards to chances for storms for a few days prior to the event. As the time drew nearer, I began having some higher hopes that we’d see some pretty good storms around here. The WRF-NMM was being the most bullish, showing strong thunderstorms training across lower Michigan. As it would turn out, the WRF-NMM would come to be correct. Sometimes it’s that one, lone computer model that nails a forecast, while all of the others are out to lunch. Slowly but surely, the atmospheric parameters came together to create some great severe weather potential. The SPC had issued a 5% risk for hail and wind. 0% for tornadoes despite the somewhat favorable wind shear values which were conductive to a few rotating updrafts. One of which I was on. There are 3 sets of footage, so be sure to keep scrolling after viewing the first batch of media. Storm #1: The Supercell The first … Read More…