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…


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…


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…


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…


Large Hail and Severe Wind 5/20/13

The first day home after my plains chase weekend, there was a Slight Risk for severe weather posted up for areas of lower Michigan by the SPC (Storm Prediction Center). All of the ingredients were in place for thunderstorm development. It was only a matter of time before storms fired off. I waited until the afternoon hours, and one storm fired up in Muskegon, and it was on from there as an entire line of storms began developing. The line had individual cells embedded within it, and a few of those showed brief rotation as they merged and congealed into an MCS (Mesoscale Convective System). Some of the cells attempted to stay more discrete, but eventually were absorbed into the MCS. It wasn’t long and my target storm became severe warned for severe wind gusts and large hail (radar indicated). I got into position for an intercept. I witnessed a shelf cloud, and also a curious appendage hanging down below one of the individual thunderstorm updrafts within the cell merger. … Read More…


High Based Shelf Cloud (PHOTOS + VIDEO)

This is an image of a high based shelf cloud that moved through the Greenville, MI area on May 15, 2012. The day started off very nice, sunshine, and temperatures were scheduled to reach the upper 70s to low 80s across the west Michigan area. The SPC had us in a Slight Risk area for severe weather, the primary threats would be large hail, and damaging wind gusts. But there were some limiting factors. The main one being the inadequate moisture, with precipitable water values only around 0.7 and dew points struggling to reach 50 degrees. The heat was there, so was the CAPE at 500-1000j/kg, and the low level lapse rates were very high, between 8.5 and 10 across the area, but the dry air ultimately won out for the most part. The SPC downgraded us to a ‘SEE TEXT’ for a lesser threat of severe weather. The day wasn’t exactly a bust, as a few severe reports were obtained, you can see those by Clicking Here. The worst … Read More…


Severe Weather, Tragedy, and Time Lapse

Pictured left is the only photo I was able to obtain of the outflow boundary as it approached. Scroll down to “Tragedy” for the reason why. SEVERE WEATHER On May 1, 2012, a Slight Risk was issued for areas of the Midwest, including the lower Great Lakes. This included a large portion of lower Michigan. The SPC kept it’s Slight Risk area over my region through day 3, 2, and finally day 1. The main threats were to be hail, and high wind, I agreed with this. On May 3, 2012, severe weather was imminent, it was just a matter of when. The majority of the thunderstorms were elevated, and being triggered in large part by the warm front. The warm front was draped across lower Michigan, and had led to thunderstorm development. Through the day, more storms developed, eventually forming a squall line. This line of storms extended from Lake Huron, all the way back to Wisconsin, but what broken in nature for most of the afternoon, this seemed … Read More…