Storm Chasing Chasecation 2016

This entry is overdue, and I am still going through all of the footage from May 23 – May 25, but I will get there, with time. Individual chase logs will be posted at a later date(s)! Well, where do I even start? These were amazing days of chasing the plains. I was out there with my good friend Cort Scholten, who has wanted to chase with me for years, but we never could pull it off before. This year, we made it work, and headed out to the plains in search of severe storms, and tornadoes. The drive was long, and tiring, coming all the way from Michigan, but it was worth it. The first day, we targeted the Texas panhandle region. It was a dryline setup, which meant big, beefy storms that would barely move, and drop lots of rain and hail, perhaps a few tornadoes. Although we missed the tornadoes on this day, we saw some pretty amazing stuff, including some great lightning strikes, heavy rainfall, high … 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…

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…

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…

After Shooting Cloud Time Lapses, I’m Forced To Take Cover!

7/27/14 – Today was a day that looked to be a stormy one. A low pressure was moving through the area, which was bringing with it the chance for widespread showers and thunderstorms. Not everywhere would get rain, but many places did. The folks who saw rain, saw a lot of it. Me included. I was sort of losing faith in storms firing in my immediate area, so I decided to go for a ride on my bicycle to get some photos and time lapses of the developing showers and storms. I was in a hole, vacant of any convective activity. I first observed some nice Mammatus clouds from a storm about 20 miles to my north. Then I began to watch as cumulus towers filled the sky directly over, and around me. Since none of these showed any immediate promise, I decided it was safe enough to go 2 or 3 miles down the road. The scenes I captured were quite lovely. The clouds’ bases were dark, and you … Read More…

Illinois Supercell 4/28/14

4/28/14 – Earlier in the week, I had been asked by my friend Michael if I wanted to pool gas money for a storm chase in Illinois on 4/28/14. You may remember the last time I chased with Michael, we scored big on 5/18/13 and also 5/19/13. After looking at model data, and tossing the idea around, pulling some strings with a few other obligations I had, I decided late the night of the 27th, that I would be on board and ready to roll in the morning on 4/28. I only got about 3-4 hours of broken sleep, but isn’t that how it’s supposed to be? You’d be surprised at how little a storm chaser actually sleeps. After I drove down to the car pool lot, Michael picked me up, then we went and picked up our friend Tony, and Michael’s brother Shawn, and hit the road for Illinois. Initially we were trying to decide between two targets. I was thinking of targeting more up around Peoria, IL, Michael … 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…