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 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…