Welcome to my site. This site is dedicated to severe weather across the nation and close to home. A special emphasis will be on weather in and around Southeast Michigan. I am an Oakland County resident that has been fascinated by weather since I was a child. Severe weather in particular. I have been SKYWARN certified since 2006. I am CPR certified and am training to be a part of CERT (Community Emergency Response Team). In 2012 I am planning on chasing severe weather in Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, & Iowa. This site will have all the information I have to share regarding my chase plans, severe weather throughout the country, as well as weather related information and links. Please explore the site and feel free to contact me with questions, comments, or suggestions.
SPC had SE Michigan under a slight risk for thunderstorms on May, 3 2012. Around 2pm storms started to form over north/central Michigan where the shear was much better and started moving east. The overall pattern had the system slowly drifting south as individual cells moved ESE. At 3pm I decided to try and catch some of the more severe cells before they reached Saginaw Bay. I made it to Gladwin county MI as the first (and only!) tornado warning of the day was issued for Michigan. Even though this storm had rotation there were no funnels or tornadoes seen. I continued to follow the system by moving south as the cells drifted in that direction occasionally producing wall clouds. I intercepted severe thunderstorms near Bay City, Zilwaukee (cored a cell there), Bridgeport, Birch Run, and finally the Flint metro area. The cells were heavy rain producers and really picked up the outflow (gust front) between Birch Run and Flint. I recorded a 61mph wind gust in Birch Run before moving south to stay out of the rain and hail. In Flint I was able to set up in a large parking lot while the storm moved in from the north. Here I was hit by 60-70mph winds along the leading edge of a multi cell cluster. Tornado sirens sounded in Genesee County due to the high winds. A small plane was flipped at Flint Bishop Airport. Large hail and torrential flash flooding also occured with these storms. A lot of major roadways including I-75 had to be shut down due to flooding. Even though this chase did not produce widespread severe weather it was a nice drive and I got to see a few severe storms and some strong wind. This setup was not ideal as the wind shear was confined to north/central Michigan while the extreme instability was farther south in the Detroit metro area. The boundry between the two was where the isolated action occured. A few pictures of these storms can be found below. Additional photos can be found here.
2012 has started off very active. Tornadoes have been reported in the deep south, Texas, Ohio Valley,and other places already this year. I had family in Trussville, Alabama when the EF3 Jefferson County ripped apart many homes and killed two people on January 22, 2012. Thankfully my family was able to take cover in an interior room as the tornado passed overhead and were able to escape unhurt. Their home and many of their neighbors homes took major damage.
The tornado outbreak in the Ohio valley of March 1st and 2nd was extremely devastating. What a terrible way to start the season. Thoughts and prayers to all the victims of this tragedy.
I am all ready to start the chase season. My chase vehicle has been fine tuned. A few new items were installed for this season. I will post details and pics soon. Safety will be my #1 goal this year. I am currently taking classes in CPR (Adult, Child, Infant), Basic First Aid, Trauma First Aid, Bloodborn Pathogens handling. Considering the amount of deaths and injuries the past couple years there is no doubt in my mind that there will be a time where I am the first person on the scene of a emergency situation. I will provide any assistance I can to the victims until the professionals arrive on the scene. I want to be in a position to help but not "get in the way". I must be trained to be able to truly help. Additional training I have scheduled for the upcoming months includes Red Cross Disaster training, CERT Training, Defensive driving course, and Oakland County ARPCS.
I will be able to carry additional equipment in my chase vehicle to help comfort victims until the authorities arrive. At times during the 3/2 outbreak families were on their own for hours with major injuries and no assistance. First responders were overwhelmed in several southern Indiana towns. Many times rescuers were forced to hike into the damage zone due to the road conditions (trees, power lines/poles down). In many cases storm chasers are already near the devastation and can provide needed assistance if they are properly trained.
We will continue to update this site with any severe weather related news. In the meantime, you can check out my 2012 Chase Archive for details on this year's chases.
My friend and fellow storm chaser Andy Gabrielson was killed by a drunk driver in Oklahoma on February 4th, 2012. Yet another senseless tragedy has taken a life way too soon. You will be missed buddy. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and especially his 3 year old daughter. Below is my blog post from 2010 when I had the opportunity to chase with Andy in Ohio. I will always remember this chase and the friendship I had with Andy. Links to media reporting on this story follow my blog. #NEVERSTOPCHASING
|Posted by Len Legendre on May 9, 2010 at 9:15 PM||edit|
Pleasant surprise, I had the opportunity to chase with Andy Gabrielson Friday.
Initial chase target was Bluffton Indiana, just south of Ft Wayne. Storms started to fire to our west around 4pm. We waited as cell after cell started firing and were sheared apart before reaching severe levels. Around 6pm a nice cell formed just SW of Ft Wayne and started tracking northeast at a whopping 75MPH. We jumped on the cell and started chasing it using highway 24 out of Ft Wayne. Every time we got in front of the cell we had about 1-2mins to look at it before speeding east to stay in front of it. Once the storm crossed into Ohio it became tornado warned. We witnessed several gustanodoes in the fields around us as well as a rotating wall cloud just before the storm became tornado warned.
We chased it until it's forward speed exceeded 80mph. At this point we drove through the recent storm path and happened upon some severe hail melting on the ground as well as two homes badly damaged by the 1 1/2" wind whipped hail. One home was occupied during the storm and the resident stated "This is the worst hail we ever seen in our entire life. We were watching it and the next thing you know the windows started breaking and we took cover". No one was home at the second house damaged.
Video as well as photos of this event are posted on my site.
Overall I had a great time chasing with Andy. I wish we would of been able to verify a possible tornado in Henry County OH while we were about a mile south of the cell. It was moving so fast it took everything we had to keep up with it and did not get a chance to clearly analyze the storm.
This storm stayed severe all the was across northern Ohio into western Pennsylvania after dark. Reports of hail the size of hen eggs and wind damage were common along the track. A few other non-severe cells continued through the area for a couple hours before the cold front pushed through and cleared the skies.
Total Chase Miles = 580
Total Storm Reports = 1 (1 1/2" hail)
Still no tornado for me this season. This chase was as close as you can get without a confirmed tornado. Hopefully the next chase will get me my first tornado. Thanks to everyone who watched my stream. For the most part it worked very well except a few areas in Ohio that had spotty cellular coverage.
Media coverage of the tragic accident:
ANDY - By Stephen Locke
All members have full access to my site. Also, members will receive email updates regarding my upcoming chase plans. Members also get forecasting advice and special weather information via email when requested. Request a ride along. I'm always looking for other "enthusiasts" to take on my chases.
SKYWARN Spotter Training has been scheduled for SE Michigan. Please click here for a link to all classes being held in SE Michigan this spring. Classes run about 2 hours and they are FREE to anybody interested. I recommend this class even if you do not want to be a spotter. The lessons learned during spotter training can help prepare you and your loved ones for severe weather in your communities. The class is about more then just tornadoes. The NWS will cover flooding, lightning, severe storms and how to better prepare for these events. Once you complete this class you are eligible to report severe weather to the NWS. Your reports can make the difference in somebody's life. You never know, maybe your report saves a life!