Storm Chasing Chasecation 2016

This entry is overdue, and I am still going through all of the footage from May 23 – May 25, but I will get there, with time. Individual chase logs will be posted at a later date(s)! Well, where do I even start? These were amazing days of chasing the plains. I was out there with my good friend Cort Scholten, who has wanted to chase with me for years, but we never could pull it off before. This year, we made it work, and headed out to the plains in search of severe storms, and tornadoes. The drive was long, and tiring, coming all the way from Michigan, but it was worth it. The first day, we targeted the Texas panhandle region. It was a dryline setup, which meant big, beefy storms that would barely move, and drop lots of rain and hail, perhaps a few tornadoes. Although we missed the tornadoes on this day, we saw some pretty amazing stuff, including some great lightning strikes, heavy rainfall, high … 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…


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…


Low Topped Supercells 5/26/15

This was an interesting day. The dynamics were in place for storms to go into a supercellular mode if they developed, but the overall instability was mitigated a bit by cloudiness in the morning, followed by more cloudiness and approaching showers in the afternoon hours. Despite the limited instability, the atmosphere still put on a show with supercells. These supercells were low topped, and some of them didn’t even contain any lightning. I watched one small shower which developed to my south, and moved NNE toward my location. I tracked it up through Greenville, MI and all the way north to just south of Lakeview, MI. I abandoned it after I saw that it wasn’t going to get the job done. During the chase though, it did produce quite a few nice scenes. The initial wall cloud was flat on the bottom, but soon, it began bringing in some scud clouds, and an appendage appeared beneath the wall cloud. Many claim this was a funnel cloud, this was not the … Read More…


Heavy Rain and Urban Flooding

9/1/14 – With a chance of thunderstorms in the forecast for the day, and high precipitable water values across the area, I knew that if any storms developed, they would be putting down quite a bit of rain, and that is exactly what happened. I had been looking at computer models and other data in the days leading up to the storm day. I didn’t think there would be a lot in the severe weather department, at least not for my immediate area, so I decided to concentrate more on the wind and rain element of the storms. I figured a decaying line of convection would be moving toward lower Michigan during the morning hours, and a new line of storms would fire up ahead of that area of decaying convection. That is exactly what transpired. The storms took a little while to get their act together, but once they did, they packed a punch in many areas. Here’s a radar image of the storms as they moved through my … Read More…


Heavy Rain, Rural Flooding, and Crocus Flowers

Flooding and Crocuses

After watching computer models like a hawk, forecasting and pinpointing until my brain was fried, and losing a ton of sleep, came today (Thursday). The SPC had us in a Moderate Risk. All signs pointed to high winds, hail, and tornadoes, except for a couple of minor details. Overnight (Wednesday into Thursday) more precipitation than previously anticipated developed and trained over the area. This never allowed the atmosphere to destabilize properly. I awoke to a Tornado Watch and a severe warned line of thunderstorms blasting into west Michigan in the late AM hours, only to die off and nothing ever re-fired in my area after that. The Tornado Watch was quickly canceled as well. I saw this scenario possibly coming to fruition in the early AM hours of Thursday (4/18/13) so I called off the chase for today. A smart move on my part, as I would have busted horribly. Heavy rain was the headline, along with flooding. We picked up a substantial amount of rainfall from this system. In … 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…


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…


Oklahoma Storms and Funnel 5/29/12

May 29, 2012 was sort of a failed chase day if we only wanted to see tornadoes that is. The day started off with a drive north from Texas. We passed through a small town called Roosevelt, OK. At the gas station, I was greeted by a friendly dog (in the photos below the video), and we also found this really neat sculpture down there of a guy made of tires (also in photos below the video). It’s cool to come across these sorts of fun and interesting things while out on the road. You never quite know what to expect in these small towns. We continued our journey northward. We targeted an area along the OK/KS border. Storms initiated there, and then developed southward. Mike was reluctant to chase in the infamous “data hole” but we had no choice. It was chase there, or bust. We followed the first batch of cumulus, which developed into the first storms of the day, and began to drop hail, and develop a … Read More…


Nebraska Chasing 5/26/12

The day began in Denver, CO. We were anticipating storms to develop in Nebraska, so we tried to head out early to intercept them. This would not go exactly as planned though. We ended up taking a tour through Denver International Airport, and Mike left his iPhone at the 7-Eleven by accident. We all thought for certain that Mike’s phone was doomed, but thanks to some teamwork, and a $100 reward set for the phone, it was recovered, without any damage! That, combined with the unintentional airport tour had us running behind schedule, but we still made pretty good time. We were out in the fields observing some cumulus, when one cell finally decided to take off. We followed that small storm cell, assuming it would gain strength. It showed promise for sure. Had a decent base to it, though it was high due to high LCLs. We still had faith in it. We chased it for a while, getting underneath it to sample some hail. We got into some … Read More…