This was a very unusual weather patter for late June. Basically, a low pressure system amplified by a neutral trof developed over southern Illinois and quickly deepened when an MCS formed with the center of the low and fed back energy. The low pressure system then quickly tracked north-east from Indiana and occluded as it reach Southern Ontario. Despite the occlusion occuring, there was enormous low level wind energy and weak instability which allowed the system to continually fill with rain and weak embedded storms all in addition to remnant moisture from the pre-existing MCS.
Despite this being a synoptic system that really just made for a miserable and cool weekend, I somehow decided that it would be a good idea to head down to the Lake Ontario shoreline. It was actually very tropical storm like with constant winds and rain bands battering the shore and his actually created some interesting weather.
The winds were pretty strong from the get go and they were poised to peak around 9PM. I headed down early around 6PM, and the force steadily increased with each gust feeling a little stronger than the last.
This ill placed park bench was quickly becoming a victim of the storm with waves lapping it and the small stones and shale gradually swallowing it up. Often people will drag benches right to the waters edge, so who knows how long this bench was sitting
The cloud ceiling was low at 400ft AGL, it was cool watching the cloud zip past the tops of the condo buildings with such a strong low level wind flow.
The trees in the foreground really give you an idea of how hard the wind was blowing, it was keeping everything in full motion and even kicking up spray from the lake.
I chose to venture out to the shoreline with my 70-200mm lens because it is weather proof and had the push and pull I wanted for a variety of shots. Stormy weather along the shore always looks better tighter than wider.
This was cool, the waves on the lake are rarely ever as big as fair weather ocean waves but today that was the case! It was neat to watch them roll along the rocks.
A stormy day would not be complete without some shots of birds hovering in the strong winds!
The beauty of the 400mm lens is that even in crappy weather, the lens hood really protects the lens from rain drops and speckling. Plus, it's great for super tight shots!
Crash! Check out the stick being thrown into the air.
This wave literally exploded on the rocks.
Usually the lakes don't really have waves that curl and break, instead they just break with small white caps and not much structure. The wind direction today was however prefect for curling waves.
The waves which were slowly getting bigger also grew in depth as the wind pushed and walled up more and more water at the western end of the lake. The waves were also becoming dirtier as they pulled apart the shoreline.
Yes, an almost perfect curl.
The waves were becoming more vicious and the bench was really getting drowned in the rough surf!
Here are the waves curling and crashing ashore with more energy than they had before.
The strong gusty winds were also starting to tear small branches from the trees. I left around 7:30PM so I can only imagine the damage became much worse around night fall.
This was my favorite photo from the entire adventure, it was the best wave explosion that I photographed during this excursion.
I used my new Vaavud anemometer with my iPhone to guage the wind. Gusts were getting into the mid 50s and it was sustained below that into the 30s and 40s. While it was October like it was still warmer than than it usually is in October!
So this was a weird day! The models had hinted at some week storms the day or two prior. I thought to myself that I would keep today in mind for a local chase. It was looking rather blah as a cold front sinking south pushed up against a very weak warm front.
There were some weak storms that started to fire as early as 12 noon but they looked really poor. Then around 1PM a more dominant cell seemed to fire near Grand Valley and track east-southeast. I headed off to intercept it once I was convinced it was going to hold together for a few scans.
I was really not paying a ton of attention to the velocity data but boy I sure should have been! There was a nice couplet visible!!
The storm near Caledon East came into view once I was just south of Bolton. I was shocked to see a large, ground hugging wall cloud with slow but very visible rotation!
The wall cloud was almost textbook in nature, the only problem was rain from another storm impending on the western most side of it.
This is a better shot of the rain on the western flank from a secondary cell. You can also see the beginning of an outflow driven shelf cloud.
This was the sounding at the time which makes it very clear what the atmosphere was doing. The biggest problem was the nominal convective energy. The storm was working with very little CAPE, barely anything at 400 j/kg!
It was really nice to be able to just stay in one spot and watch the storm slowly creep over. These things are usually cranking in Southern Ontario and moving at 30 - 40 knots. This was a very plains like 10 - 15 knots.
There was plenty of low scud getting drawn in and lofted upwards but I never did see anything really tighten up and threaten to drop a funnel.
I wish the contrast was better! By this point rain from the neighbouring storm was starting to come down steadily and I knew it was a matter of time before this storm ran out of inflow.
This shot looking due west shows the neighbouring storm starting to really darken and now the outflow shelf / gust front is really visible.
The corn gave a really cool twisted effect.
This was my last photo before the wall cloud became buried in rain and the parent storm died. Not bad for only having to drive 10 minutes from home.
After re-positing south I snapped this quick photo of the gust front over Brampton before heading south into Toronto and calling it a day.
Here is a sequence from the King City radar showing the path of the velocity couplet from just south of Orangeville to Bolton.
Here are a couple GIF loops showing the storm and the associated velocity couplet. You’ll also find a time-lapse video at the bottom showing the supercell mesocyclone and associated wall cloud in motion with clear rotation.
This was one of those somewhat unusual setups where storms were poised to fire along a trough from a secondary low behind a weak cold front. The initial cold front brought weak storms and drenching rains overnight and into the morning.
The day started with dense cloud cover and dreary showers. Despite the washed out morning conditions, clearing and warm air advection began to ejected energy from Michigan northeast into western portions of Southwestern Ontario. The lingering cloud cover also began to clear from west to east. The environmental conditions quickly began to become favorable for storms and some weak convection initiated in Michigan.
A few storms began to form over central Michigan and track towards the border. I decided that it looked decent enough to head out and traveled west towards Exeter.
I took a few minutes to stop and visit the Exeter Radar Site since it was literally along the way into town.
Just west of the radar site the skies began to clear and the extent of the deep rich low level moisture became apparent and thick super low level cumulus started to form. You can see how wet the ground is from the storms the previous day and the early morning rainfall.
I stopped in Exeter, grabbed some A&W for lunch then headed north. While I could hear thunder an incredible amount of haze had fomented itself around me. Just north of my local two discrete cells popped up as the nose of warm air from Michigan began to break through the cooler air from the morning.
This was the first storm to my west. I could see very little structure due to the haze and cloud. I sat and watched before I eventually decided to travel south.
The storm soon appeared to look more organized and I could see core structure as well as outflow features.
This pile of scud looked like a wall cloud briefly but it was most likely an outflow only feature.
As the storm drew nearer it has a pretty solid looking core and a ton of outflow wind. Unfortunately I could not see any solid inflow structure to the southwest which sort of worried me.
I stayed right on the edge of the storm but it was just chugging along at a good clip and dumping tons of rain and outflow crap in its wake. I eventually met up with fellow chasers Scott Burlovich and David Piano and we regrouped to head west towards another storm.
As we headed towards another storm this was a neat shot looking back at the first cell. You can see the core of the storm to the immediate top of the photo (north) and the whales mouth to the right (east). This entire whales mouth feature was a massive outflow boundary that was slowly pushing south away from the parent storm.
As we got closer to the second storm which we had targeted it began to fall behind the outflow boundary from the first storm. As this happened it was apparent that there was little structure and likely no surface inflow. This was a half hearted attempted at a shelf cloud.
Eventually we fell south and a new weaker cell began to form ahead of the outflow washed storm. In littler three radar scans it jumped from a weak rainy storm to something more impressive little. As we punched through the storm and wound up on the northwestern flak we had a good clear view of a nice flanking line and good inflow structure.
This storm had now managed to meet up with that big outflow boundary and started to pull in warmer air south of the cold pool at the surface.
I took the opportunity to grab a photo of Scott while he photographed the storm.
We fell south with the storm and I quickly noticed some crazy spin in the cloud directly ahead of us. We both stopped and started taking photos and video. I can't explain it with still photos, but the rotation was very pronounced.
This was the inflow/outflow part of the storm where had there been a tornado, it would have been located.
Again, the outflow began to get ahead of the parent storm and trigger a cool whales mouth. By this time the visible rotation had diminished.
This was the area where new towers were growing but not precipitating. These clouds were super low!
Eventually everything just became a big pool of outflow and fresh storms failed to really successfully fire while whatever was on radar quickly fell apart. Getting out south ahead of the outflow the air was 26C and it was hazy and humid.
I noticed on radar a new storm had started to brew to our northwest but visually we could not see much of anything. I suggested to Scott we head in its direction and once we were about 4 km out we stopped and had this interesting view!
The storm was unusually laminar looking with mid level inflow present. It's unusual to see this type of structure in Southern Ontario so I was very enthused!
I had to grab the Fisheye lens, this storm had such a cool look to it! Despite being very laminar it had no rotation that I could see, at least not on a ground relative level but mid-level inflow banding was very very present.
This wall of cloud which almost had a roll cloud look was just to the southwest of the main storms core region.
Interesting to note is that the storm had this beaver tail like feature. Again, this storm was hauling in mid level and low level inflow so it makes perfect sense to see moisture just streaming in from the southeast.
The edge of the storms core was just coming across the trees in distance. I figured this was a cool photo and I only had about 30 second after taking it before the rain hit.
Eventually Scott and I fell back southeast and punched through the storms core. It was very underwhelming but it was fun to watch Scott try and fight with the rain to photograph some crepuscular rays breaking through the rain.
I waited for a bit and watched some lightning trickle out of the storm with Scott. It was nothing that would be easy to photograph so I called it a night and headed home parting ways with Scott.