Bring It On Home

2004 05 21
IN to ON


I woke up early as usual and had a look at data. An intense bow echo to the west of Chicago would be coming through our area soon and more storms were forecast later in day. We decided to try to intercept the bow echo and left the hotel at 10:30 am. We thought the dunes along the lakeshore would offer a nice vantage point, so headed for the lake.


We only managed to get down to the end of the main street in Michigan City before a big gust front passed over us. We found our way down to a marina at 10:45 am to watch the storm come through. We got an anemometer reading to 70 km/h and watched the crashing waves. A few tree branches were down but we didn’t think much of it.



Waves crashing in from Lake Michigan and the crew out in the wind.


We assumed that more storms would develop in the area later in the afternoon, so we headed to a state park at the dunes for some sightseeing. The wind was still strong off the lake and the sand was flying through the air, especially at the top of “Mount Baldy”. It made for some interesting pictures.


View of Lake Michigan from “Mt. Baldy”, facing northwest.


More dunes, waves and blowing sand, facing roughly west.


We left at 11:40 am and found a WI-FI hotspot to check data. The SPC had put a watch box up for southern Michigan. After analyzing the situation, we realized that the only action was with the bow echo storm that had already passed and was speeding east while increasing in intensity. Rats!


We started down I-94 but decided to head east on 12 instead. We took video of lots of tree damage and an overturned 18-wheeler along the route in behind the storm, which was now more like a derecho. The storm was pulling away from us, so we dropped down to I-80 to make up some time.





Shots showing tree damage and an overturned 18-wheeler along Route 12.


After a bit of highway chasing, we concluded that we wouldn’t be catching this storm and got off at 69 to get lunch. However, the power was out here and everything locked up. They wouldn’t even let us use their washrooms.


We moved a bit farther south on 69 and found a McDonalds with power at around 4 pm. After getting some grub, we got out on 69 again and then headed east on I-94 to Windsor. The storm, complete with mammatus clouds, was still visible to our east as we pulled across the border at 7:45 pm. We had managed to chase all the way home!



Mammatus clouds at the back edge of the derecho that raced across southern Michigan.



Sarah finally losing it and “The Pile” behind Mark’s seat ready for an avalanche.



Nothing beats the sight of the Ambassador Bridge after a long trip in the US.


We headed over to Beth’s parents’ place and the Pare clan ordered a delicious Windsor pizza for us. Heather and the kids came over as well. Our eventful US chase trip was now history.


Sarah headed home to Toronto on a red-eye train that night. Mark and Beth got some southern Ontario chasing in over the weekend before heading back home. And Heather, the kids and I got in one final chase Sunday night as we followed some strong storms down the 401 on the way home to Guelph.



All text and images by Dave Sills Copyright 2004.

Unauthorized use prohibited. All rights reserved.



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