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…


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…


Supercell Drops Golf Ball Size Hail 4/29/14

4/29/14 – This was a day that I had been watching on the computer models for days. Mainly the NAM. The forecast model runs showed a scenario of a warm front moving through lower Michigan with an associated low pressure. The triple point was fairly close by, so I knew the potential would be there. Most often times when we get a good warm front setup in Michigan, a couple of more dominant cells will fire off and become long track. That is exactly what happened. Earlier in the day there were a few scattered thunderstorms. One went severe warned on the Lake Michigan shoreline, and eventually more storms began to fill in a little better across the rest of the area. One storm went severe warned and had a classic “flying eagle” look on radar, but as it outran the shear and instability, it died. Below are a couple of images of that cell. I chased after it, but knew it would end up dying so I left it … Read More…


Severe Weather: Supercell, Hail Accumulation, Storm Damage

4/12/14 – Today was a day that had looked halfway decent on the computer models in regards to chances for storms for a few days prior to the event. As the time drew nearer, I began having some higher hopes that we’d see some pretty good storms around here. The WRF-NMM was being the most bullish, showing strong thunderstorms training across lower Michigan. As it would turn out, the WRF-NMM would come to be correct. Sometimes it’s that one, lone computer model that nails a forecast, while all of the others are out to lunch. Slowly but surely, the atmospheric parameters came together to create some great severe weather potential. The SPC had issued a 5% risk for hail and wind. 0% for tornadoes despite the somewhat favorable wind shear values which were conductive to a few rotating updrafts. One of which I was on. There are 3 sets of footage, so be sure to keep scrolling after viewing the first batch of media. Storm #1: The Supercell The first … 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…


Kansas Tornadoes, Supercells, and Mammatus

May 19, 2013 – After scoring big on May 18, 2013, we started day 2 of our chase a little less frantically. We had some time to position and go over data and surface observations that morning, and also post up a few photos on facebook from the day prior. We knew that it would be another good chase day, but we also knew that storm modes would be different. Faster motion, and storms would congeal into an MCS faster than the day before. So we were prepared for what was in store for the day. We drove a bit further east from where we ended up the day before. The SPC had once again issued a Moderate Risk for the day. We staged in Newton, KS, and had a friend visitor. A Grackle. Then we made our way down to an RC plane park in Wichita, KS to hang out with Michael Phelps for a bit before initiation. Justin Hoyt and Bill Kirkpatrick showed up as well, and we … Read More…