After being skunked a couple times by forecasts for local storms that didn't pan out, Today we have a bit of a surprise. Shear was not especially great south of the warm front. However the best cape and weakest capping were occurring to the south, mostly south of Grand Rapids. Several vigorous updrafts formed early in the afternoon immediately along Lake Michigan. A small window existed where these new storms would stay discrete enough that they perhaps could generate an environment where tornadoes were more likely. A mature storm formed over Ottawa county, and another, newer, much closer storm over Allegan county. We chose the Allegan county target. Chased with my wife this time (really her first time on any serious storm hunt.)
We followed the storm to the Dumont lake area where we witnessed a nice clean rain-free base evolve to produce a boiling wall cloud. Rotation was weak but visible. Later we followed the base a bit further north where the RFD began to really take hold of this storm, as well as precip from a storm to it's south that would eventually merge into our target storm.
At the end of the day a QLCS emerged that was moving very slowly to the west. Giving us a chance to watch a shelf cloud ungulate in a nearly stationary position. The downdraft was a deep green, while the updraft was smooth and fast--much faster than any perceived storm motion. This gave us time to make a great video of the shelf cloud and and a very-wide high-res panorama!
Radar as storm approached featuring 60k winds
Just a quick post for the Northern Indiana Derecho and Tornadoes of June 23rd. This quick video took place North of Mishawaka, IN just miles and minutes away from a brief Tornado touchdown in Goshen, IN. A shelf cloud approached within and interesting 'hook' feature near where two opposing gust fronts had collided. THe sky was a shade of dark turquoise and green. Tornado sirens blared warning residents that these storms may spawn tornadoes or gustnadoes. Missing from this video is footage of the 60+ mph winds that quickly followed. (hit the record button to cancel a recording instead of starting a new one) Also not far from here, a 75+ mph gust was reported.
A powerful Mesoscale Convective System that originated in Des Moines IA, and followed I-80 well into Ohio. (note that I haven't heard this name repeated anywhere, it's the name I coined for it) Most notably it blew windows out of Chicago's tallest building, the Willis Tower and produced 90 mph winds over southwest Michigan. Having seen it coming long before it made it to Chicago, I decided to set up a timelapse of the event. I'm recording for the extreme northern end of the Derecho where wind speeds were about 20% weaker than near the center of the Derecho. This is a good thing, down the road from me a weekend outdoor concert was taking place with more than 10,000 spectators with little or no cover available.
For a good portion of the video, you'll see the overshooting tops of the anvil approach and darken. As the storm finally gets closer, a shelf cloud appears with it's eerie rolling motion and quickly moves in. At this point I grab the camera and switch to realtime video to witness the 40-50 mph wind gusts that accompany the back side of the shelf cloud. Scroll down for more.
Unbelievably, another Derecho hit hours later over some of the same locations in Iowa, Illinois and Indiana. This time it missed most of Michigan, but nevertheless we had a great view of it. Nearly constant lightning was occurring over the Chicago area, but the frequency died down as it approached the South Bend, IN area. Here's another timelapse of the second event.
We woke up Monday morning to what looks like could be a significant Tornado outbreak over western, SD. SPC initially foretasted a 10% Risk of Tornadoes over the area. We decided to leave North Platte and head north with no particular target in mind, but definitely in South Dakota.
As we approached South Dakota, the Tornado risk was upgraded to a 15%. Now with a risk of strong tornadoes as well and even included North Platte, the town we left just a few hours earlier! Driving as quickly as we could, we arrived in Murdo, SD early in the afternoon. Storm initiation was fast and furious at this point. Storm motion was again south to north as with the day before, and even faster that before. A few healthy storms began to form just to our North, we made the call to head north to Pierre and then west. The road networks in western South Dakota are a bit tricky, often requiring doubling back. The storms to our North had picked up in intensity and were now Tornado warned over Faith, SD. However at the same time, they had picked up significant speed as well. We were way out of position to reach the line of supercells to our North. However, there were supercells to our South as well. all of which were moving north and within our reach. We arrived in Hayes, SD. Once again to a beautiful blue sky! theme of the week we suppose. After watching the storms to our South approach we decided to double back and head toward Miller to intercept a supercell that looked poised to arrive at the same we would.
We were already hearing about a wonderful Tornado in the Faith, SD area from the very storm that was out of reach. As we approached Miller, the storm we were targeting began to look less and less tornadic, but maintained severe characteristics. We decided to watch the storm go by from the side of the road near Miller.
The storm we picked had interesting structure but again little rotation. Significant winds came out of the storm along with intense lightning. The storm continued away from us passing to the north. We decided we were too tired and too out of position to try anything else. We followed the storms path back to Rapid City, SD. Only a few miles away from our position in Miller, we came across an 18-wheeler that had flipped due to the high winds on the storm we were watching!
We arrived in Rapid City, SD and watched all of the storms to our west merge into a massive and destructive Derecho. Late in the evening it arrived in Rapid City and we watched and filmed the Derecho pass over us with 50+ mph winds.