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…


Southwest Kansas Chase 5/9/15

***FULL CHASE VIDEO BELOW – SCROLL DOWN TO SEE PHOTOS AND READ THE FULL CHASE LOG*** The day started off with a drive north through some of the Wichita Mountains onward to southwestern Kansas from Lawton, Oklahoma. Along the way, we encountered some elevated convection, as well as a deck of Asperatus Clouds. These proved to be quite photogenic. As we moved northward, we were witness to some beautiful scenes, including this one just off the road somewhere in southwest Kansas of a CU field developing across the rolling plains. While waiting for initiation, Michael Gavan and I met up with Blaize Edwards, Jared Stevenson, and Amanda Ann at Presto in Sublette, KS. We talked, joked, laughed, and traded stories for a while. We saw some other chasers rolling through, and also talked to a few of the locals who were quite interested in what we were up to. After that, we were on the road to developing storms to our south. A couple of cells tried to fire closer … Read More…


After Shooting Cloud Time Lapses, I’m Forced To Take Cover!

7/27/14 – Today was a day that looked to be a stormy one. A low pressure was moving through the area, which was bringing with it the chance for widespread showers and thunderstorms. Not everywhere would get rain, but many places did. The folks who saw rain, saw a lot of it. Me included. I was sort of losing faith in storms firing in my immediate area, so I decided to go for a ride on my bicycle to get some photos and time lapses of the developing showers and storms. I was in a hole, vacant of any convective activity. I first observed some nice Mammatus clouds from a storm about 20 miles to my north. Then I began to watch as cumulus towers filled the sky directly over, and around me. Since none of these showed any immediate promise, I decided it was safe enough to go 2 or 3 miles down the road. The scenes I captured were quite lovely. The clouds’ bases were dark, and you … 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…


Insane Thunder and Lightning!! (VIDEO)

GRL3

After a long winter, a late running winter, we finally got some good thunderstorms here in Michigan today (4/9/13) These were elevated along and north of a warm front situated to our south. This afternoon I recorded some of the very best thunder I have ever heard. Loud, and in your face. This video is worth the watch!! To the left is a screen shot of GRlevel3. You can see the concentration of lightning fairly well. The cell didn’t look like much on radar, but the lightning literally, spoke for itself. More storms possible this week. Below is a very cool image from my friend Cort Scholten showing a low pressure on radar and also on velocity. This was a secondary wave of thunderstorms and rain that moved through the area this afternoon. Thanks Cort! … Read More…