10/11/06 - 10/13/06 Reports: MI, NY Lake Effect Snow Storm


Back home after a long but fun chase. I was caught up on a lot of stuff at home and really wanted to get away for a chase since this years hurricane season pretty much sucked *@!!$ and I was getting SDS so I chased Upper Michigan. I bet this is the first Upper Michigan or one of the few Upper Michigan chase reports on ST.

First off, the Houghton and Hancock area rocks. Everyone is super cool and I love that place. Case in point, while shooting some video on 41 right in front of the city hall, a cop came out to talk to me. I thought it would be the move along, homeland security you can't film here B.S. Nope, it was hey man, who you shooting for, come on in and grab some coffee if your cold, where can I get a copy of the video later. Totally cool!!! The people at the coffee shop where totally cool too. Everyone there is totally cool. The whole area is so laid back, it reminded me how things were 15 years ago before all the security and terror risk fenced in b.s. stuff. What really amazed me was all the burned up embers on the lake shore. I thought they had a massive wild fire or something and some people told me "Oh no, everyone goes out on the beach to party during the summer and starts up a camp fire and camps out on the beach." I was totally blown away. No political correct B.S and no you can't do that for fear of global warming or that might offend someone. It was all cool up there and the country side was like just west of Denver with the hills and mountains. I can't wait to go back up there in a couple months when they have a couple hundred inches of snow on the ground just to go play in it.

Anyways, enough with how much the U.P. of Michigan rocks.

I left Minneapolis on the 11th to chase the forecasted winter storm in Upper Michigan. The forecast was for a couple feet of snow. That did not happen. It snowed a couple inches in Houghton and up in the hills around Twin Lakes, they got over a foot of snow, the wet heavy snow. The temps did not get that cold and it was pretty amazing to see the weather change from 25 to almost 40 just in a few miles from on top of the mountains to down by the lake.

I did meet up with Rocky on Thursday just as the monster snow started. We had snow pellets falling that were worthy of calling in as pea sized hail. Here is Rocky in the tropical storm force winds and snow getting just soaked while he was checking out the monster waves.

The wave action was pretty sweet and was just like a tropical storm which is why I'm calling it a Frozen Tropical Storm.

Here is me leaning into some 48 mph winds on Friday Morning. On one side of the breakers the lake was violent but on the other side it was pretty calm.

Between snow bands the sun would come out and would clear up and make the white caps look meaner.

Here is the Ontonagon light house, the new light house since the old one is now in the middle of a paper mill ship yard. Here is the link since I can only have 4 photos per post.


Just outside of town I took this photo of the fall colors. Some red's, some yellow's, some gold's and a lot of white. This made the Weather.com photo of the day on Thursday.

There is not a lot to see in between towns and not a lot of people until you get up to Houghton or Ontonagon since the smaller towns are just small resort towns but the scenery is great!!! I shot more video and took more photos on this trip then I did for Tropical Storm Alberto and I got better waves on the breakers.

But for those who don't like the cold, the wind chill was brutal. I was wearing some of my scuba gear under my clothes just to stay dry and kill off the winds. In the photo of me leaning back into the wind, I'm wearing a 3.5 mil long wet suit hood to keep the wind away from freezing my ears and face. It worked pretty slick and my 5mm dive gloves were great for working the camera and keeping my hands warm without getting in the way of feeling for the controls. The water proof boots were great when the storm surge waves would move up to where I was standing and kept my feet dry. The lake was 18" below normal with the drought so I could only imagine what the waves and surge would have been like at the normal lake depth.

All in all, it was a fun trip and even having a little chaser convergence in one of the most remote places in the United States next to the Keys. Now that I think about it, the U.P is The Key's Of The North, only conservative.