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

Northern Michigan was rumbled awake this morning by thunderstorms and some were severe!

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

A few hours later, action developed to the Lower Peninsula! Roscommon, Ogemaw, and Gladwin Counties were warned at 8:00 AM.

Also in the path of severe warned storms were Newaygo, Montcalm, Gratiot, Isabella, and


Hail observed by Kieth. Kaleva, Manistee County

Midland Counties.


Some locations, such as Wexford, Manistee, and Clare counties saw strong storms as well but were not in any warnings.

The storms finally exited the viewing area after 9:30 am, but continued to impact southeastern portions of Michigan into late morning. By this point, the sun was shining for many of us back in northern Michigan!

While these storms moved through quickly, they did not leave without a trace! Hail was reported in several locations that were impacted by the strong storms this morning.

Hail was impressive. A report of golf ball size hail was posted 2 miles ESE of Skeels in Gladwin County! Other locations recieved quarter-sized hail and even ping-pong ball size hail!

viewer photo

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

While it isn’t unheard of, it does seem to be a rare occasion for severe thunderstorms to develop in the early morning. Let alone, produce large hail!

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Hail Observed in Bear Lake, Manistee County 

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

This morning was similar, but not in the afternoon!

All the ingredients were present that are needed for a storm. Warm temperatures, high dewpoints, and an unstable atmosphere.

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

But, where exactly did the hail come from? When and where hail forms is still being widely researched.

Essentially, hail forms as a result of strong updrafts in a storm. The air moving from the ground upward through the cloud, has to be stronger than the water droplet. This keeps the droplet in contact with super cold liquid droplets that form to each other. The hailstone falls out of the cloud when the updraft is not strong enough to hold it up. The longer the droplet stays in the cloud, the bigger it gets before falling to the ground!

From today’s photos we can see these storms had some strong winds flowing up into the storms!


Img 4493

Hail covering ground at Northern Exposure Campground. Mesick. Wexford County.