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6/19/09 Chase Recap


This day was a MDT risk day for severe weather. I left around 2:30 PM, and intercepted a storm just south of Angola, IN. It wasn't very impressive, and nothing interesting was popping up yet. We waited about an hour, and then noticed a storm just north of Rochester. It went tornado warned after a little bit, and we traveled south through Fort Wayne, and intercepted the storm just south of Huntington. The storm wasn't real organized, and we only saw a brief wall cloud. The storm died out, and a large MCS blob was forming on the other side of Lake Michigan. We headed north, and eventually met up with Ben Holcomb in South Bend, IN and continued north where we stopped south of St. Joe to watch the storm come ashore. The lightning show was pretty good, and winds were estimated at about 45mph. After the bulk of it passed, we headed home.

Full Recap:

We left Friday the 19th around 2:30 and headed south on I-69 towards Indiana. The SPC had issued a Moderate risk for severe weather for Ohio, Northern Indiana, Illinois, and extreme Southern Lower Michigan.

Around Angola, we got ahead of a loosely bound MCS, and watched that pass overhead. We also observed a nice shelf cloud, which was even more spectacular with the eerie blue/green and yellow sky colors. We followed it a little, and observed some sort of lowering with no rotation. The storm was dying out, so we let it pass by, and went to a Ritters Frozen Custard to get some ice cream.

We waited around for an hour or so, and I watched the dying MCS move westward, while leaving a nice OFB. Finally, a storm started to pop near Rochester, IN. I continued watching it, and it started to make a right turn, so I knew some rotation was going on in the storm. We continued south towards Fort Wayne, and the storm was still tornado warned, and was continuing its way southeast. Turning east towards Huntington, we made our way just a little bit south of Huntington to the small town of Andrews, IN. We got close enough to the storm to identify what appeared to be a wall cloud that was forming. There was a little inflow tail, and an ever so slight lowering to the storm. That quickly died out, so we headed north to see if the storm would mature any further. All we encountered was a shelf cloud just north of Andrews.

The storm was now completely falling apart, and Ben Holcomb was already headed down from Lansing towards my way to catch another cell plunging northeastward. The cell he was intercepting died out very quickly before he could get to it, so he made a stop in South Bend, IN to wait for us. We hurried north and finally met up with Ben, who also had his dad with him. We decided to go watch the storms come over the lake and make landfall, so we drove up, and stopped at a little beach access, and prepared for a good lightning and wind show. I was trying to get my anemometer to work correctly until I found a loose cable and realized it was useless, while Ben did live phoners for WOODTV-8.

After the bulk of the winds came on shore (estimated at ~45mph), Ben went to look for storm damage, and managed to find a couple small healthy limbs down. My dad was getting tired, and wanted to go home, so I didn't bother him, since he was driving in the first place (Although I should have drove, and had him sleep). The drive home was pretty uneventful, as the bulk of the rain was north, as well as the lightning. I continued to watch the storm until I noticed a really nice couplet on the radar. It was dark out, and my dad wanted to get home, so I just let it go, and still today I probably would have let it go, due to the fact that it was pitch black out, and because it's Michigan, not the plains. Anyways, come to find out this large MCS put down three tornadoes that night within 25 miles of each other! One tornado was rated EF-1, while the other two were rated EF-2's. This also happens to be the only three tornadoes Michigan has seen this year so far.