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…


A Beautiful Evening At Baldwin Lake

9/20/14 – Today was supposed to be a day of severe weather for most of the lower Michigan area, however, despite plenty of instability, shear, and other parameters in place, the severe weather remained to the south, and also east of west Michigan. Although initially rather disappointing, we did receive some beneficial rainfall from this system. Overall, the day went from mostly sunny, to rather gray, and wet. Once I decided that all of the storms would miss my area, I decided to head down to the lake to do some fishing in the rain. Fishing wasn’t very productive, so I started exploring nature a bit. In doing so, I found a frog, and a beautiful Monarch Butterfly! I’m thinking this Monarch was a female, based on how fat it was. The Monarch was down near the water, and was nearly falling in, so I picked it up and moved it, but not before getting some photos and video of this lovely insect. It’s been awhile since I handled a … Read More…


3 Rainbows, Shelf Cloud, and a Sunset

7/15/14 – While under the influence of an unseasonably cool trough over the US, some showers and even a few thunderstorms developed within it’s cold pool. I had seen this coming for a few days prior thanks to the computer models, so I scheduled a bicycle ride for this day. I was hoping to see at least some halfway decent structure, and a rainbow. What I got was much more than that. I found all sorts of beautiful scenes, including 3 different rainbows, each one better than the last, a surprise shelf cloud, and some great nature and agricultural scenes. I began my day with a heavier rain shower, and I was able to get some video of that, and also my best action shot of rain falling ever. Later, I went cycling. My bike ride started off pretty well, saw a rain shower passing through, in the process of dying, but still created a nice scene. But it wouldn’t get really beautiful until I went further north. I found … Read More…


A Weather Time Lapse Day

4/8/14 – Today was a great day for weather time lapse! The conditions were nearly perfect for some light showers to develop. There was some instability present, albeit weak. SBCAPE was on the order of 100j/kg, and the Low Level Lapse Rates were impressive, up into the 8.5 range as I was shooting these showers. Below is a PYKL3 radar screenshot from my cell phone. (my general location is shown on the screenshot, I was actually a bit east of there) I’ve also included some mesoanalysis images. Left to right, SBCAPE, SB Lifted Index, MSLP, Low Level Lapse Rates, and PWAT. Click images for larger view. They did have a hard time overcoming the drier air at the surface, so much of the precipitation was in the form of Virga. But that made for even better time lapse footage. Also, as you can see in the first photo in this article, the persistent snow pile along the side of the road. It was, at one point, nearly 6 feet tall. … Read More…


Severe Thunderstorm, Rainbow, Sunset, and Sky 6/17/13

June 17, 2013 – I was tracking the potential for storms all day long, in hopes that something would either fire along the cold front close enough to my chase range, or survive the trip across Lake Michigan and allow me to get out ahead of it. The latter scenario began to take shape, and I headed out to a favorite spot of mine with fields like that of the central plains. The storm was severe warned primarily for the potential for gusty winds, and some hail. The storm remained a single cell with one parent updraft through the majority of it’s lifetime. It was fairly high based as well, with some decent structure. I was able to obtain some good shots during the storm’s passage, including the fantastic structure (by Michigan’s standards), a vivid rainbow, a nice sunset, and some nice updraft towers, etc. The storm dissipated and sort of became more of a squall line after it moved off to my ESE. I also captured some of the … Read More…