Waking Up to Thunderstorms: Recap of Hail Producing Storms September 21, 2022

Northern Michigan was woken up this morning by thunderstorms and some were violent!

Warnings were issued by the National Weather Service (NWS) as early as 4:00 a.m. this morning! Luce County in the Upper Peninusla was the first to have thunder this morning.

A few hours later, the action developed to the Lower Peninsula! Counties Roscommon, Ogemaw and Gladwin were notified at 8.00am.

Newaygo, Montcalm, Gratiot, Isabella and

Hail observed by Kieth. Kaleva, Manistee County

Midland counties.

Some places, such as counties Wexford, Manistee and Clare, also experienced strong storms, but received no warnings.

The storms finally left the observation area after 9:30 a.m., but continued to affect southeastern parts of Michigan until late morning. At this point, the sun was shining for many of us in Northern Michigan!

Although these storms spread quickly, they did not leave without a trace! Hail was reported in several locations that were affected by the heavy storms this morning.

The hail was impressive. A golf ball sized hail report was released 2 miles ESE of Skeels in Gladwin County! Other locations received quarter-sized hail and even ping-pong ball-sized hail!

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Hail sighted by Lydia at Northern Exposure Campground in Mesick, County Wexford.

While not unheard of, it appears to be a rare occasion for severe thunderstorms to develop early in the morning. Even less, produce big hail!

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Hail observed at Bear Lake, Manistee County

Most of our thunderstorms occur in the afternoon and late at night thanks to the instability of the atmosphere created by daytime heating.

This morning was similar, but not the afternoon!

All the ingredients were present that are needed for a storm. Hot temperatures, high dew points and an unstable atmosphere.

A passing cold front this morning helped produce the storms and their strength!

But where exactly does hail come from? When and where hail forms is still the subject of much research.

Essentially, hail is formed as a result of strong updrafts during a storm. The air moving from the ground up through the cloud must be stronger than the drop of water. This keeps the droplet in contact with super cold liquid droplets forming on top of each other. Hailstone falls from the cloud when the updraft is not strong enough to hold it back. The longer the drop remains in the cloud, the more it grows before falling to the ground!

From today’s photos, we can see that these storms had strong winds blowing through the storms!

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Hail covering the ground at Northern Exposure Campground. Me sick. County Wexford.

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