I'm in high school and love meteorology and extreme weather. I've been fascinated by weather since I was 5, and I plan on becoming a meteorologist.
By: wxchaser97 , 10:43 AM GMT on March 15, 2013
One year anniversary at WU
I can't believe it has been one year at WU already, but it is. On March 15, 2012, the Ides of March, I joined WU due to severe weather impacting my area. I'd been lurking on a few blogs for a little while, but after record-setting severe weather, more on that later, in SE MI, I wanted to join. I am sure glad that I have joined. There has been so much about meteorology that I have learned here during my first year. There is still much I can learn from fellow wunderbloggers. I have seen severe weather and winter weather in different eyes since joining. In the past few years, I was mostly just tracking weather around the country. I would visit the NHC, SPC, TWC, etc... to monitor extreme weather. After joining WU, I was able to get a ton of new resources to monitor and forecast the weather. Now, as part of my directed study, I do weekly forecasts for my local area and winter/severe/tropical storm forecasts/updates. They aren't 100% perfect, but they are helping me learn what types of things to look for. I plan to write/release my first seasonal hurricane forecast this weekend. I have also done some comparative/research blogs. All of these things have greatly expanded my knowledge of the weather and have helped my writing skills. Thanks for everyone accepting me and I plan to stick around for a long time.
March, 15th, 2012 severe weather
March of 2012 was an extremely warm one in the eastern 2/3rds of the country. A big blocking high sat over the eastern US allowing very warm air to surge very far north. In SE MI, highs reached the upper 70s to low 80s at the height of the event. Dew points also were able to rise into the low 60s, a rarity for March. On March 12th and 15th, with the 15th being the bigger event, a couple upper level disturbances were able to spark off severe thunderstorms. There was plenty of instability for storms and with some lake breezes storms fired. On March 12th a tornado, the second earliest tornado in SE MI history, touched down near the town of Coleman, MI. This tornado was rated an EF1. The tornado was also the first March tornado north of I-69. On March 15th, a larger severe weather event set up in SE MI. The day started off as warm, muggy, and mostly sunny. As the day progressed, temperatures warmed into the 70s and the air moistened. Looking back at a satellite loop from that day, a lake breeze looks to have been the trigger that popped off the storms. That is a more summer-time pattern, not very late astronomical winter pattern. The SPC has SE MI in a larger area of a slight risk of severe weather, but tornadoes weren't expected. There was very little wind shear for thunderstorms to work with so rotation wasn't expected to happen. Of course though, it did happen. It is possible that some of the larger supercells used boundaries to get some rotation going, but overall it is still crazy to think tornadoes got going that day. In all, 3 separate supercells produced 3 separate tornadoes in Dexter, Ida Township, and Columbiaville. The Dexter tornado was rated an EF3 with 135-140mph maximum winds, the Ida tornado was rated an EF0 with 85mph maximum winds, and the Columbiaville tornado was rated an EF2 with maximum winds of 125mph. The Dexter tornado was the earliest EF3 or stronger tornado in Michigan history. This tornado damaged or destroyed 128 structures. Thankfully and remarkably, there were no fatalities or major injuries. These storms and others produced large, damaging hail and spotty damaging winds. I personally just got prolonged periods of thunder and lightning and some heavy rain. A soothsayer once said, "Beware the Ides of March". This warning was needed in Michigan, but for most, was ignored just like Caesar did a couple thousand years ago. This day will be remembered forever for its record setting tornadoes and the destruction they caused. A few images and videos of the tornadoes can be found below.
In know this video is long, but it gives good coverage of the aftermath.
A collection of images on the tornadoes, images courtesy of the NWS Detroit and WU.
Switching to severe weather blog
Since winter is basically over based on the calender, except I'm supposed to get a couple inches of snow tonight, this blog is switching into severe weather mode. From here on to May 15th or June 1st, I haven't decided, this blog will primarily be about severe weather. I plan to track and predict severe weather outbreaks. I will also create my own severe weather outlook areas, but only the Storm Prediction Center's(SPC) is official. If a major winter storm or an early season tropical system forms, then I'll focus on that. There could be some severe storms coming up if the models are right, but that is still pretty far out. There could also be some early next week, but it shouldn't be a big event.
Have a great Ides of March everyone and I'll be back with a local forecast late today and my 2013 hurricane season prediction this weekend.
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