Lake Effect Snow Whiteouts 1/9/15

1/9/15 – After documenting a powerful winter storm on 1/8/15, I stuck around the next day to document the absolutely crazy lake effect snow conditions that were ongoing. Ground blizzards and whiteouts were the common theme. Most of the time I couldn’t see more than about 50 yards while driving. In many cases, I couldn’t see past the hood! There wasn’t quite as much “natural disaster” type of stuff to get footage of as the day before, but it was still quite impressive. Travel was difficult for everyone, and the windy conditions made the already cold air feel even more brutal. I headed to the lake shore area in and around Muskegon. Visiting places like Pere Marquette Park and the Great Lakes Naval Memorial Museum. At times I couldn’t even see the structures just across the street from them! While on Beach Street Rd., I recorded some video of waves crashing against the lighthouse which was quite surreal to witness. If there had been less ice buildup, the videos would … Read More…

West Michigan Snowstorm 1/8/15

1/8/15 – This was a day that I had been anticipating for about a week. The computer models indicated that there would be a rather potent clipper system swinging through the area in the afternoon/evening. This system would gain lake enhancement, and also produce lake effect snow into the overnight period. Pretty much anywhere along the west Michigan shoreline was going to get smacked, especially the further north you were. I targeted Muskegon, MI for this system. With a new camcorder added to my lineup just a day before the event, I was prepared to head out and document this system to it’s fullest. I drive an F-250, and it has 4WD, so the snow depth and road conditions didn’t concern me much. I was more worried about somebody else being careless and hitting me. The National Weather Service had posted a Winter Storm Warning for the first 2 rows of counties inland of Lake Michigan. Road conditions were really good at the beginning from Greenville, to Cedar Springs, but … Read More…

Christmas Eve Heavy Snow Event

12/24/14 – I wanted a snowstorm for my birthday, and my birthday just happens to fall on Christmas Eve. I got my wish! ..well … sort of. The medium range computer models (GFS and ECMWF (aka the EURO)) were both showing the potential for a big storm system to impact the Great Lakes region around Christmastime. The only issue was, how much warm air would advection would impact the outcome of this system. The models trended pretty well through the medium range, but by the time the model runs were in the short range, it was anybody’s guess as to what would happen. The GFS, NAM, ECMWF, GEM, and others were flip flopping all over the place. Everything from all rain, to rain to snow, to an all out snowstorm with some models predicting anywhere from 6 to 14 inches of snow. The NAM was the one that remained most bullish in regards to snowfall. There really was no pinning down a forecast until about 3-6 hours before the snow … Read More…

Lake Effect Snow Whiteout

11/18/14 – Another day in the wintry pattern, except this one had winds that favored more lake effect snow squalls. Some of these were very heavy, as seen here in this particular article. The day began with intermittent snow showers, but as the afternoon wore on, the lake effect snow squalls became more numerous, and started to push inland further. One of these squalls parked itself on top of me for about 20 minutes. It varied in intensity throughout it’s life span, but at it’s heaviest, this squall was dumping snow at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour and created whiteout conditions. At times, I couldn’t see more than 60 to 100 yards. This was some of the heaviest snow that I have ever documented. What surprised me most was the amount of motorists that didn’t have their lights on. Some of them I couldn’t even see until they were almost upon me. I was able to get some great shots during this event, and some of … 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…

West Michigan Snowstorm 2/17/14

GREENVILLE, MI – An area of low pressure developed in the plains, gathered strength, and tracked through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, through lower Michigan, and on into the Eastern Great Lakes region. A large swath of snow left behind accumulations generally ranging from 4-7” across lower Michigan. Locally higher amounts were found in Central Lower Michigan. There was a convective element within the storm system which worked to enhance the snowfall across the area. Below is an animation of the national radar loop (click image to enlarge) you will see a darker green band through lower Michigan, which was one of the main convective bands. Illinois had thundersnow, but that instability just never quite made it to Michigan. The right image of is GRLevel3 which shows the echo tops in the left panel, and base reflectivity in the right panel. You can see the convectively enhanced snow band well. Higher cloud tops and higher dbz returns. Season Snowfall Stats: Holland 134.5″ | Muskegon 120.7″ | Grand Rapids 101.1″ | Kalamazoo 96.1″ … Read More…