This was really the first chase for me in 2013, which lined up kind of perfectly for my preferred area of terrain, but didn’t truly get impressive until it got into the thumb and farther away from radar. Regardless, it was a very photogenic cell for your average Michigan storm.
I started in Perry, waiting for the cells to fire. Models suggested there would be a few cells, but it wasn’t as warm as initially predicted so the atmosphere was pretty capped. Regardless, the one and only cell to go went up just NW of Grand Rapids, so I shot back to the NW into Gratiot Co. to take on the cell and head east with it.
While sitting outside of Alma, the cell caught up to me and was actually rotating somewhat decently. There was a very faint wall cloud obscured by rain, which produced a brief funnel cloud – but quickly fizzeled out and the storm seemed to lose some of it’s luster. It became very outflow dominant as I began to travel back east towards Saginaw, where I got into a bit of a road issue as I tried to go north around town but couldn’t get back to M-81 without backtracking several miles. The storm caught me and passed me roughly between Saginaw and Bay City, and I continued onto my new route – M-25 into the thumb.
By the time I cleared Bay City, I was following a developing wall cloud on the SW section of the cell. I went slightly to the south to get a road I could take straight east, and began a drive directly behind the cell for about 40 miles, watching the wall cloud tighten up, produce another funnel, than suck the circulation into the rain. I ended up somewhere northeast of Deckerville, before I decided to turn around, head south and return back to Saginaw.
Possibly the best moment of the trip was after I decided I was done with the cell, was heading back on M-46 and stopping to take some great shots of the entire thunderstorm in the distance, crossing into Lake Huron.
Not the most impressive storm, but an interesting one to say the least.