June 18th Squall line

The day was just begging for a thunderstorm. Hot and humid all day, and the skies finally opened up. I am tempted to call this a ‘derecho‘, which is a long lived squall line of storms. Most examples are close to what we had last night. However, the regular criteria for a derecho are sustained winds of 58mph. While the peak gust I measured was 64mph, it was not a sustainable wind. Nonetheless it was a very violent storm. Had tons of reports of downed trees and power lines. Transformers were blowing up all over and left tens of thousands out of power for the night and further. Unfortunately there was one fatality when a tree fell on a passing by car. Actually happened just down the road from myself. Feel really bad when it happens that close let alone without much warning.

NOAA once again does an excelent job of documenting storm reports and other stats.

I of course was not paying much attention and was watching World Cup highlights from the day, for one of the coolest organized storms of the year(so far). I did get a screenshot about 5:30pm EST that showed the storm approaching from the west across Lake Michigan. About this time a severe thunderstorm watch was placed for our area and Southern Michigan. I also predicted a time of impact about 9:30 or 10. Storms located in Grand Rapids usually take 3 or so hours to reach here, so I just tagged on another hour. This held true as the storm began in most places about 9:15 to 10.

Storms over lake michigan

Squall line approaching Lake Michigan from the west. Right on target.

Once the storm was withing visual range, things started getting a little hairy. It started ok, just looked like a regular thunderstorm. Then it just kept getting darker and darker. Got so dark the camera ISO went bazerk and didn’t really take a nice shot.  What followed was about 30 min of rain, wind, lightning, and more wind. A few power blips later, things were calm and my friends in Ann Arbor were getting the storm.

Ominous clouds

Looks like a nice sunny da...oh wait...its supposed to be night time right?

money shot

This was a "better take this quick" shot. Note the maple tree on the left already bending over.

When it was safe to turn the computer back on, I got a shot of the storm as it continued to exit Michigan. Another line formed to the west but went south of our area.

Looks a lot like a comma doesn't it? ,

Was an exciting end to the day, but again so sorry to hear of the fatality. Driving in these storms is a great hazard. Although it is safer than being outdoors, things can still go out of control. I also heard of a few cities setting of the sirens for tornadoes, but you really don’t get tornadoes out of these storms. There is too much wind shear for anything vertical to form. However, straight line winds can cause just as much damage. If they were just setting off the sirens for warning of the high winds to come I can see how it would be helpful. Really is important to have a weather radio tuned in for the latest updates. Any weather updates are instantly streamed to NOAA weather radio so you can know exactly what is going on. Really helpful if you loose power before, during, or after the storm.


About gweatherc
Live in Michigan and enjoy observing the weather. Want to pursue it as a career! Currently taking classes at Central Michigan University.

2 Responses to June 18th Squall line

  1. Scot says:

    What’s up with your humidity sensor? I’ve seen 255% and 17% from your station neither of which are right for a Michigan summer.

    • gweatherc says:

      I apologize, it did this last summer and I need to go take a look at it again. Should not be broadcasting if it is wrong.

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