High Winds, Big Waves on Lake Michigan!

2/19/16 – This was an unusually warm, very windy, springlike day in Michigan. 60F and sunshine dominated most of the afternoon. The wind gusts were powerful, some of which were very high. Numerous high wind reports reaching into the 50-60mph range were received. One gust of 70mph was reported at Ford Airport in Grand Rapids. Overall, a very warm, and windy day. I planned for this day in advance. The models showed a potent storm system with a warm surge of air, and very strong winds. I wanted to go down to Lake Michigan to shoot the waves crashing over the pier and lighthouse, as well as see what the ice situation looked like down there. After a mild winter overall, most of the Lake Michigan shoreline was free of ice, except for the ice which had been piled up by waves on the beach. Still, there were many ice chunks floating around in the water which created some pretty amazing scenes. I stayed out there for a few hours … 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…

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…

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…

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…

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…

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…