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…


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…


Hailstorms (Time Lapse + Photos) 5/30/13

After a long day of waiting for storm initiation, one cell finally decided to develop. I discovered it while it was in the towering cumulus stage, as prior to this cell firing I had pretty much given up on the day, and stopped paying attention. All of the other cells had developed several miles away throughout the day, and this one decided to pop up closer to my chase range. I quickly gathered my equipment and headed to a spot with good visibility. I was also treated to views of some distant storms as well, and a very nice sunset. I decided that I would do a time lapse on my cell. One of my goals for this year is to put together a video of thunderstorm time lapses, so this was definitely a worthy candidate for that. I setup my Canon SX20 for the time lapse video footage, while shooting stills with my Canon SX40 at the same time. (both of which are point and shoot cameras) I tried … Read More…