Strong Grungy Storms 9/3/15

9/3/15 – This was an interesting day. Elevated storms came through in the early morning associated with a wave of low pressure. The amount of debris clouds leftover from the morning convection limited the severe potential for later in the afternoon. SPC had a general thunderstorm risk across the region. A few storms did go severe warned though, and a few others reached strong criteria. I got into some of the grungy stronger storms which offered up some interesting structure. The clouds were not of supercellular nature, but they exhibited a lot of similar features given the ample moisture, some CAPE, and shear to sustain them. I meandered around Stanton, MI mostly, and stayed in Montcalm County to document what I could of the storms. They weren’t extremely impressive, so I didn’t want to travel very far. Below is a video of the storms, and also a collection of photos, some of which look quite ominous. One of the images is a wedge tornado lookalike. No confirmation of any damage, … 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…

Summer “Pop Up” Storms 8/10/15

8/10/15 – This was a warm and humid day, and there was some instability around. That usually leads to what’s commonly called “pop up” or “popcorn” convection. These types of pulse showers and storms can be isolated, scattered, or numerous, depending on the given conditions at the time. These were of the isolated variety. A few showers and storms had developed off to the north and northeast, and they produced outflow boundaries which touched off a few more storms as the afternoon and evening progressed. These were quite photogenic, and I ventured out on my bicycle to have a look around. I snapped lots of photos, but picked the best ones, or the most interesting ones for this article. I saw several cumulus and cumulonimbus towers, and was also treated to a beautiful sunset. In one of the sunset photo, you can see a cluster of sunspots on the lower right of the solar disk. I encountered a small Rabbit on the way to the fields, it wasn’t scared of … 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…

Urban Flooding and Hail Event

8/1/14 – Today was a day that had low shear, but enough instability and forcing to pop up some pulse style showers and thunderstorms. There was enough CAPE to provide a hail and heavy rain risk. Normally I don’t even bother with these sorts of events, because of the random nature of the convection, but these were close enough to yield some good footage opportunities. The day started off mostly sunny, but cumulus clouds quickly filled in, and began to develop into showers and thunderstorms. The first ones popped up well to my north, and south. As the afternoon progressed however, some storms began to take shape right on top of me, and just a few miles to my west. I set out to document some hail originally, since I had been placed in a severe thunderstorm warning, mostly for a risk of large hail. As I began my trek westward into town, I got into some pea sized hail, and then the hail shifted south and the core fell … Read More…

Another Beautiful Sunset (Time Lapse Video + Photos)

Back to back gorgeous sunsets on 8/8/13 and 8/9/13. What more could a photographer ask for? I was out riding my bike at the time. I didn’t have my tripod with me, so for the video I just steadied my camera on my bicycle’s seat cushion. The angle was actually pretty good at accenting the sunset, so I’m not disappointed. Photos and videos are below. I captured some pretty cloud scenes before the sunset as well. It was definitely great to experience. Feel free to share this article around! … Read More…

Storm Chasing 2012 – The Best Chases

Today is December 31st, the last day of 2012. For some it was a good year, for others it was a bad year. For me, it was a mix of both. This year wasn’t friendly to all storm chasers. The nationwide drought situation played a huge role in the lack of storms in the United States. One thing we didn’t have a shortage of, was heat, and dry air. It was extremely difficult if you were a chaser to get footage of tornadoes this year. I mean certainly, many chasers did intercept tornadoes this year, but overall, it was a lackluster year. That’s great for the general public, but sucks for a storm chaser. This year I was able to do a proper US plains tour through tornado alley, thanks to my friend, and chase partner, Michael Phelps of stormscapelive.tv, my sponsor Mike Curtis of Farm Bureau Insurance, and all of my friends and fans who have donated to me over this past year. This tour took us everywhere from … Read More…

October 19, 2010 – 4 Seasons of Trenton Ave.

Pictured to the left are 4 photos I took in the year 2008 as a photography project on a road called Trenton Ave. I used to often ride my bicycle down this road, where I would always stop at this very spot just to sit & think, to take nature in. Michigan is a great state for old dirt roads in the woods where you can just relax. This road located outside & NW of the city of Cedar Springs, MI runs from 19 mile rd to 22 mile rd. This particular stretch featured in the stitched photo above was located about a half mile north of 20 mile rd. looking south. (click above photo for full view) Click Here to see Trenton Ave on Google Maps. Click here for a street view looking south. the city of Cedar Springs is most well know for it’s annual Red Flannel Festival. But there is a lot of beauty in nature around the area if you ever get a chance to explore … Read More…