Major Flooding in Holland Michigan

posted in: Storm Chasing | 0
Storm Chase Details

Chase Date: June 19, 2009
Chase Partners:
Mike Holcomb

Chasers Encountered:
L.B. LaForce

Miles Logged: 373
States Chased: MI, IN
Severe Risks: SPC Outlooks

Chase Recap:

After getting home at around 8am from Iowa the day before, I spent most of the day on Friday sleeping. It was all broken sleep as I kept checking the storms. Around noon a Tornado Watch was issued for Northern Indiana and parts of Southwest Michigan, but nothing looked very promising.

I went back to bed, and woke up sometime in the mid afternoon and took a shower. I then took another hour nap or so, then decided to hit the road around 4pm. The original target was Northern Indiana. I went and picked up my dad, and had him drive. A cell in Indiana had gone Tornado Warned, but I knew we’d never catch it. I headed down I-69 and then decided to go west on I-80 and intercept the other cell which was in Marshall County.

Both cells in Indiana fell to pieces, and I kept going west on I-80 to around South Bend. I sat on the west side of South Bend for an hour or so, then decided to head north to the Lakeshore as a bunch of storms had just fired up near Holland and then in a line extending down towards the Chicago area.

We found a park along the lakeshore which didn’t have a very good view, and streamed video of the storm as it came in. I did a phoner for the TV station, and then we went north a bit.

I found some tree damage, and streamed that for a few minutes, then headed further north into Benton Harbor and towards I-196.

We shot up I-196 and went through the endless miles of construction while trying to get to Holland. It was sometime around the time we got on I-196 that the 3 tornadoes were touching down in the county north and the county east of us. Oh well, can’t win them all.

We made it to the 41 mile marker, and came upon a bunch of stopped cars. We realized right away they were stopped because there was 6-10 inches of standing water on the freeway. After sliding a bit, and getting through it, we went up to 31 and into South Holland.

Unfortunately, 31 was under at least a foot of water, but we managed to find a way to get through.

We spent the next few hours in Holland, doing live phoners and streams for the TV station. The amount of flooding was amazing. It took us quite awhile to actually get out of Holland, and we found some places where the sewers were overflowing into the street. That smelled wonderful.