Understanding & Avoiding Great Lakes Thunderstorms

Understanding & Avoid Great Lakes Thunderstorms

Thunderstorms can quickly spoil an outing in many ways—strong winds, large waves, dangerous lightning, waterspouts, or visibility-limiting rain. This four-hour clinic will examine the various types of Great Lakes thunderstorms and the ingredients that lead to their formation. The clinic will cover why thunderstorms often ‘pop-up’ late on summer afternoons and why some storms have short life-spans while others persist for several hours. The clinic will also introduce the many readily-available resources for forecasting and monitoring thunderstorms.

The clinic is designed for all Great Lakes boaters (power and sail) who would like to reduce their chances of a hair-raising or windswept encounter with a thunderstorm.

You will learn the following at the clinic:

  • A few basic weather principles.
  • How to decode the confusing symbols, color shading, and meteorological shorthand on weather forecast maps.
  • How to recognize the large and small-scale weather patterns that promote thunderstorm development.
  • The ingredients needed for thunderstorm development and their life-cycle.
  • How to forecast the potential and nature of severe weather.
  • The dynamics of lightning and a review of the latest advice on lightning protection for your boat.
  • How to use Doppler Weather Radar to assess the development, monitor the evolution, and track the movement of thunderstorms.
  • The terminology used by the National Weather Service during hazardous and severe weather events.

The four-hour clinic combines classroom instruction, case studies, and exercises to create an engaging learning experience.

Click here to download the flyer for this clinic.


About The Presenter

Mark Thornton has been sailing for more than 25 years and currently owns Osprey, a C&C 35. His interest in weather forecasting grew from his experiences cruising and racing on the Great Lakes. Mark is a 2006 graduate of the Penn State University Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting, a two-year program that develops skills in general, tropical, and severe weather forecasting.

He is the president of LakeErieWX LLC, a company dedicated to providing marine weather education and forecasting resources for recreational boaters (www.lakeeriewx.com). Mark publishes a marine weather blog and teaches basic forecasting seminars to recreational boaters during the off-season. He has served as the Race Meteorologist for the Bell’s Beer Bayview Race to Mackinac since 2014. Mark is also employed as a Teaching Assistant in the Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting Program at Penn State University.

As both a sailor and a meteorologist, I am uniquely qualified to improve the weather-related skills of your members. Please contact me by email or call 440-250-9179 to learn how a weather forecasting seminar can help address your organization's educational, safety, and membership goals.

Click here to view my meteorological resume or here to read about my marine weather forecasting seminars and workshops.

Interested in reading and learning more about marine weather? A few times each year, I publish an article on an interesting marine weather event. Click here to subscribe to my 'no spam' email distribution list.

Email: Mark@LakeErieWX.com
Phone: 440.250.9179


Seminar Season Is Here!
Click here for the schedule.

Seminar Schedule


Understanding & Avoiding Thunderstorms
Chicago Boat, RV & Sail Show
Date: Saturday, January 11, 2020
Time: 1:00 pm to 5:00 pm

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Understanding & Avoiding Thunderstorms
The Foundry, Cleveland, Ohio
Date: February 22, 2020
Time: 9:00 am to 1:00 pm

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GLCC Weather Savvy Mariner Webinar Series
Great Lakes Cruising Club School (Online)
Dates: February 25, March 3, March 10 and March 17, 2020
Time: 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm

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Great Lakes Basic Marine Weather Forecasting
Bayview Yacht Club, Detroit, Michigan
Date: February 29, 2020
Time: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

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EYC Weather Savvy Wednesdays
Edgewater Yacht Club, Cleveland, Ohio
Dates: March 11, March 18 and March 25, 2020
Time: 6:00 pm to 8:30 pm

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Great Lakes Basic Marine Weather Forecasting
Port Huron Yacht Club, Port Huron, Michigan
Date: March 21, 2020
Time: 8:00 am to 4:30 pm

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Coastal & Offshore Marine Weather Forecasting
Cruisers University - Annapolis Boat Shows
Date: April 25 & 26, 2020
Time: 8:15 am to 3:45 pm

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Click here to register at Cruisers University.


Click here for the complete seminar schedule.

Seminar Reviews
"You have a passion for meteorology that is contagious and a gift for communicating a complex subject.".

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