Today was one of those wait and see and hope and wish and drive type days. All the moisture, energy and instability was contained to southern and central Michigan as a warm front lifted north across much of the Northeast U.S and Southeastern Canada.
Earlier in the week models had shown storms erupting across southwestern and southcentral Ontario around the dinner hour but as the forecast day drew closer, the incoming trough aloft slowed down and ushered in more capped air in the mid levels leaving the cooler less stable air farther west.
This meant that here in Southern Ontario we were widely out of luck, but the HRRR did have one interesting card up its sleve. It showed the stuff in Michigan to eventually go linear and turn into an MCS (this was widely supported by the the mid and upper level wind fields). The MCS was then supposed to rapidly begin accelerating east across Lake Huron and blast into Southern Ontario with the nose of the forecast bow-echo to land somewhere around Teeswater which agreed well with the actual surface observations and radar data.
My biggest fear was that the stable marine air over Lake Huron would kill the line of storms long before they had a chance to hit Canadian soil as is sometimes the case. I was concerned because they were going to be outpacing the more unstable air and moving into a more and more capped atmosphere.
I tried to take a nap because I was tired and had to work overnight after the chase but the tornado action in Oklahoma kept me awake and then I watched as Moore was taken off the map again much like it had been on May 3rd 1999. It was horrific to watch but at the same time kept me glued to the live streams.
After getting virtually no sleep, the HRRR forecast began to validate as the storms in Michgan began to line out and blast eastward. I jumped in the truck and took off.
I spoke to fellow chaser Dave Patrick on the phone, he was farther west than I was and in good position. Looking at the radar I figured I had another hour or so before I would be into the squall line since it was only over central Lake Huron at about the time I was entering the Town of Lucknow. I immediately called Dave to see what was going on in front of me and he said it was blasting him with dirt and gustnadoes.
I was sort of stunned since the storms were still so far away on radar, or at least that's where the precipitation was. I didn't notice it at the time, but if you look near the horizon you'll see a brown wall of dust just above it! I was so busy getting the graduated ND on the camera and aligning everything so perfectly I did not realize that the interior of my car was going to get pretty dusty soon.