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…


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…


Lake Effect Snow Whiteout

11/18/14 – Another day in the wintry pattern, except this one had winds that favored more lake effect snow squalls. Some of these were very heavy, as seen here in this particular article. The day began with intermittent snow showers, but as the afternoon wore on, the lake effect snow squalls became more numerous, and started to push inland further. One of these squalls parked itself on top of me for about 20 minutes. It varied in intensity throughout it’s life span, but at it’s heaviest, this squall was dumping snow at a rate of 2 to 3 inches per hour and created whiteout conditions. At times, I couldn’t see more than 60 to 100 yards. This was some of the heaviest snow that I have ever documented. What surprised me most was the amount of motorists that didn’t have their lights on. Some of them I couldn’t even see until they were almost upon me. I was able to get some great shots during this event, and some of … Read More…


Winter Came Early This Year

11/16/14 – After the snow on Halloween, we warmed back up into the 40s and 50s, but not for long. A wintry pattern set in on November 12th, and brought with it several rounds of lake effect snow and the cold air has remained entrenched over the region since. During this time, I was out shooting footage of the snowfall, and below divided into individual daily accounts, are the snowy days over the period. The snow wasn’t particularly heavy all the time, but there were times when the snowfall increased in intensity. Each account has a date, a small description, a video, and some photos. Enjoy! 11/13/14 – A snow squall developed and pressed eastward into my area, bringing with it some of the heaviest graupel type snow I have ever witnessed. The snow showers on this day were convectively enhanced, and some of which packed a good punch. This particular cell increased in intensity right on top of me, and dumped down quite a bit of precip. After the … 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…


West Michigan Snowstorm 2/17/14

GREENVILLE, MI – An area of low pressure developed in the plains, gathered strength, and tracked through Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, through lower Michigan, and on into the Eastern Great Lakes region. A large swath of snow left behind accumulations generally ranging from 4-7” across lower Michigan. Locally higher amounts were found in Central Lower Michigan. There was a convective element within the storm system which worked to enhance the snowfall across the area. Below is an animation of the national radar loop (click image to enlarge) you will see a darker green band through lower Michigan, which was one of the main convective bands. Illinois had thundersnow, but that instability just never quite made it to Michigan. The right image of is GRLevel3 which shows the echo tops in the left panel, and base reflectivity in the right panel. You can see the convectively enhanced snow band well. Higher cloud tops and higher dbz returns. Season Snowfall Stats: Holland 134.5″ | Muskegon 120.7″ | Grand Rapids 101.1″ | Kalamazoo 96.1″ … Read More…


Snow Squall Intercept 1/30/14

GREENVILLE, MI (1/30/14) – The day started out dry, and dare I say balmy, with a south wind and temperatures hovering around 30F. The US National Weather Service office in Grand Rapids, MI had placed west Michigan in a Winter Weather Advisory for the potential of accumulating snow, and deteriorating driving conditions in the afternoon and evening hours. There was a fairly potent shortwave approaching from the west. This system had some lift with it, and some moisture to work with. On radar, the snow squall line resembled that of a thunderstorm squall line as it approached the region. I saved images from GRLevel3 and NexLab which include radar, velocity, and a color enhanced infrared satellite image. Images are in animated gif format. The first one (left) shows the base reflectivity (0.5) where you will see a fairly uniform consistency of 20-30dbz returns. The second one (middle) is base velocity (0.5) and you will see the mesoscale banding taking place within the squall itself. These mesoscale bands did produce some … 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…


The First Snowstorm 12/8/13

On December 8, 2013, we here in west Michigan experienced our first snowstorm of the season. Now it wasn’t crippling by any means, only producing 1 to as much as 5 inches in some spots. But it still is marked down as the first widespread accumulating synoptic snow event of the season. Travel conditions deteriorated rather quickly once the heavier bands of snow moved in. The snow began during the day on Sunday and lasted well into the overnight hours. The snow provided me with quite a few photo and video opportunities. I first traveled down M-57 a little ways to get video and photos of some of the traffic and a flock of Geese in a field just off the roadway. I then ventured into town down by the Flat River and observed flocks of several Geese coming down toward the river. At one point it almost looked like an alien invasion! There were so many. By this point the roads were snow covered and becoming slippery. I ventured … Read More…