This post was written by Jake Rozin.
This morning we woke to the sound of thunder as a small storm system passed over Duluth. After jumping out of bed, grabbing breakfast, and filling up on gas, we jumped into our trusty chasing-mobile and were off east. Headed on rte. 2 we made our way into Wisconsin and drove alongside a beautifully formed shelf cloud (pictures to come later). We then continued through WS and crossed into the upper peninsula of Michigan where we wait at a crossroads for warm enough air to break the cap. If it holds, we will wait for a cold front that has been a day behind us to catch up. We currently sit in an abandoned baseball field in Watersmeet, MI. Hope to see some activity soon.
After Watersmeet lost its charm, we decided to meet our cold front south of the border of Michigan and Wisconsin. We drove south to Eagle River and found a beautiful field tucked away from the road where we sat and waited. For several hours we watched the patch of would-be-severe weather creep up to us, pass, then continue on to the east without developing. It was then when we decided to drive south (then east) to try to intercept it as the system matured. After perhaps thirty minutes of driving, it became clear that “The little storm that could” could not. We shifted our attention to the Northern Peninsula of Michigan to where a huge system had engulfed Duluth and had continued heading east. This was our chance.
We rushed back the way we came, through Eagle River, over the border, made a left at Watersmeet, and headed west on Route 2. “You are headed towards a twisting storm,” piped the computer (the first noise it has made all trip). We parked by the road and watched as a huge mass came towards us. To the south was a precipitation screen, and to the west was a swirling cloud ready to eat us alive. Lightening was flashing on all sides but one, so we got back in the car and headed back to Watersmeet, then south. Soon, rain was coming down in torrents and visibility was nearly impossible. Then, I heard something slam into the windshield. Then the roof. It made a metallic thud as it bounced off onto the road. Quarter to half inch in diameter hail was now falling as fast as the rain. Rockwell feared for the newly replaced windshield as I tried to stay on the road.
After a bit of driving, we got out of the hail storm and were headed south. While deciding on where to spend the night, the thought of Iron Mountain came up. It was north east of where we were, so it would allow us to skirt around the edge of the storm that we had been trying to escape the past hour or so. As we made our way, the sun set behind us as we experienced one of the most amazing lightening shows I have ever seen. We pulled off the road to watch it for a bit, and that is where I snagged the picture below.
Tired, but victorious, we rolled into Iron Mountain and crashed at the first hotel we could find. Not a bad day. Not bad at all.
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