Convective Snow Showers

2/12/16 – This was a day that really gave me the storm chasing itch, but the thing is, these weren’t thunderstorms. They were heavy snow showers. Steep lapse rates, coupled with other favorable upper level support, sunshine, and lake effect influence created the perfect setup for intense convective snow showers. Some of these looked like pop up thunderstorms almost, taking on anvil shapes, and bubbling updrafts. I started the day near Greenville, MI, snapping off a couple of shots in a field of the snow showers, then headed west toward Rockford, MI on M-57. I staged around M-57 and US 131. I began documenting some of the heavier snow showers as they raced through the area. Some of these created some whiteout conditions in a hurry, and slowed traffic down and caused some backups too on US 131. Below is a video of the snow in the Rockford area, and also photos from Greenville and Rockford. After that batch of snow showers, I drove over to Belding, MI to intercept … Read More…

Bad Axe, MI Lake Enhanced Snowstorm

2/9/16 – It has been a pretty mild winter here in Michigan so far, and because of that, and the overall upper atmospheric pattern, we have had a lack of snow, with no real big snowstorms yet, at least where I live. So when the GFS and GEM computer models were indicating the possibility of a lake enhanced snowstorm for the thumb region of Michigan, I was definitely intrigued. I continued to monitor the model runs, until about 3AM on February 9th, and that’s when I pulled the trigger to travel to the thumb region to document the impending snowstorm. Google Maps said it would be about a 3 hour drive, but the weather had other ideas. Between the bad road conditions which resulted in traffic reducing speeds to around 35-40mph, and me stopping to shoot footage along the way, it ended up being a 4-5 hour drive. Below is a video of snow in and around the Saginaw, MI area, and also a collection of photos from my drive. … Read More…

Huge Wreck on US 131, Lake Effect Snow, Grand Haven Lighthouse Waves

12/18/15 – This was a day for lake effect snow. The models had been showing it, so I set out with my friend Cort Scholten to document the event. We expected it to be a good day for weather. We met up at a carpool lot and then took his car down to the Lake Michigan shoreline. The snow was struggling to get going strong, so we decided to head down to Grand Haven and enjoy some of the wave action along the lighthouse pier. Below is a video and a collection of images from our time at Grand Haven, MI. This is one of Michigan’s best lighthouses, so photogenic! A must see if you’re visiting Michigan. We also found some cool frozen sand formations along the beach called “Hoodoos”. They’re pretty cool! The waves were pretty turbulent also. After that, we drove down to Holland, where the lake effect snow was beginning to get it’s act together. Some heavier snow showers began to move off of the big lake. … Read More…

Battle Creek, MI Snowstorm 2/1/15

2/1/15 – A large and powerful snowstorm affected a large portion of the United States from the Midwest, through the Great Lakes and into the Northeast. Dumping 15-20 inches of snow in a number of areas, packing strong wind gusts, and snowfall at rates of up to 1-2 inches per hour. This was a long duration heavy snow event, which resulted in lots of blowing and drifting, high snowfall accumulations, near blizzard conditions at times, motorists becoming stuck or stranded, a number of accidents and slide offs, and many schools and businesses closing down due to the conditions. One computer model stood out from the rest several days before, showing a snowstorm set to impact northern areas of the US around Feb 1-2. That model, was the GFS. Over time, the model forecasts trended northward with the snow. Many people were skeptical. I was favoring the northward trend. Then suddenly just a couple of days before the storm, the GFS forecast showed it all south of the area. Within a … Read More…

Lake Effect Snow Whiteouts 1/9/15

1/9/15 – After documenting a powerful winter storm on 1/8/15, I stuck around the next day to document the absolutely crazy lake effect snow conditions that were ongoing. Ground blizzards and whiteouts were the common theme. Most of the time I couldn’t see more than about 50 yards while driving. In many cases, I couldn’t see past the hood! There wasn’t quite as much “natural disaster” type of stuff to get footage of as the day before, but it was still quite impressive. Travel was difficult for everyone, and the windy conditions made the already cold air feel even more brutal. I headed to the lake shore area in and around Muskegon. Visiting places like Pere Marquette Park and the Great Lakes Naval Memorial Museum. At times I couldn’t even see the structures just across the street from them! While on Beach Street Rd., I recorded some video of waves crashing against the lighthouse which was quite surreal to witness. If there had been less ice buildup, the videos would … Read More…

West Michigan Snowstorm 1/8/15

1/8/15 – This was a day that I had been anticipating for about a week. The computer models indicated that there would be a rather potent clipper system swinging through the area in the afternoon/evening. This system would gain lake enhancement, and also produce lake effect snow into the overnight period. Pretty much anywhere along the west Michigan shoreline was going to get smacked, especially the further north you were. I targeted Muskegon, MI for this system. With a new camcorder added to my lineup just a day before the event, I was prepared to head out and document this system to it’s fullest. I drive an F-250, and it has 4WD, so the snow depth and road conditions didn’t concern me much. I was more worried about somebody else being careless and hitting me. The National Weather Service had posted a Winter Storm Warning for the first 2 rows of counties inland of Lake Michigan. Road conditions were really good at the beginning from Greenville, to Cedar Springs, but … Read More…

Exploring A Winter Wonderland

1/4/15 – I had been tracking a strong storm system on the models for about a week, and the potential for rain, mixed precipitation, and also snow that would come with it. The exact track of the system was still a little iffy through the period, which made forecasting where each precipitation type would fall, and how much of an impact it would have, difficult. The storm started out with some light snow, and then that transitioned to mostly sleet and also some freezing rain early in the morning on 1/3/14. Through the day, the precip type would change to primarily rain here in Greenville, and then go back over to snow by late evening before a lull in the precip occurred. Below are a couple of images which show the mixed precip accumulations in 1/3/15. Overnight and into the morning, more snow fell, and it left the entire landscape completely covered in a beautiful blanket of snow. Every tree branch, every piece of grass, everything was covered. It was … Read More…

Christmas Eve Heavy Snow Event

12/24/14 – I wanted a snowstorm for my birthday, and my birthday just happens to fall on Christmas Eve. I got my wish! ..well … sort of. The medium range computer models (GFS and ECMWF (aka the EURO)) were both showing the potential for a big storm system to impact the Great Lakes region around Christmastime. The only issue was, how much warm air would advection would impact the outcome of this system. The models trended pretty well through the medium range, but by the time the model runs were in the short range, it was anybody’s guess as to what would happen. The GFS, NAM, ECMWF, GEM, and others were flip flopping all over the place. Everything from all rain, to rain to snow, to an all out snowstorm with some models predicting anywhere from 6 to 14 inches of snow. The NAM was the one that remained most bullish in regards to snowfall. There really was no pinning down a forecast until about 3-6 hours before the snow … Read More…

The First Snow! 10/31/14

10/31/14 – The first snow of the season just happened to fall on Halloween this year. On October 27th, we have high temperatures in the mid 70s, but the weather pattern was soon to change, and when it did, it was drastic. The snow didn’t really stick most of the day, and in my area at least, it wasn’t coming down too terribly hard until later in the afternoon hours. Once the snow picked up in intensity, I decided to head out and get some photos and video footage of it. In this article you will see the wet road conditions, the windy and snowy conditions, and also a close up view of the potato harvesting equipment. There’s also Fall colors in various scenes. The tale of two seasons! Enjoy. … Read More…

Winter Solstice Snow/Ice Storm

GREENVILLE, MI (12/21/13 – 12/22/13) – A powerful storm system affected much of the eastern United States this weekend. This storm system was responsible for heavy snow, heavy ice accumulation, and severe weather, including a few tornadoes. The severe weather stayed south of us here in Michigan. However, we experienced freezing rain, sleet, and snow. Earlier in the week, we had freezing rain fall in the area, which made conditions hazardous. Ice had accumulated on the trees and power lines. Sidewalks, parking lots, and side roads were like skating rinks. We straddled the 32°F line at the surface for highs. The warmer air aloft was able to override the cold layer below, which resulted in a prolonged period of scattered freezing rain, and freezing drizzle. Some sleet and snow mixed in at times. Below are photos of the ice accumulations. As the larger storm system gathered strength to our SW, the moisture plume from it was already affecting us by late Saturday (Dec 21st). Below is an animated gif I … Read More…