Strong storms in W. MI: Microburst, tornado

Strong winds knock down tree limbs in the area of Clay Avenue near 44th Street. (Courtesy Brennan Prill via Twitter/June 22, 2015)


HIGHLIGHTS:

  • Strong storms moved through southwest Michigan.
  • Strong straight-line winds were the most likely serious factor.
  • Isolated tornadoes were possible but not likely.
  • Heavy rain and lightning were very likely.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two rounds of strong storms swept through West Michigan on Monday, producing a microburst in the Wyoming area and a tornado in Portland.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Radar

A Tornado Watch for southwest Michigan counties was issued until 3 a.m. Tuesday as a line of strong storms moved through the region. The storms also prompted severe thunderstorm warnings and a tornado warning for Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties that expired before 11:15 p.m.

Kalamazoo County Undersheriff Pali Matyas told 24 Hour News 8 Monday night that he was getting reports of flooding in Richland and Cooper townships and a lot of lightning, but no damage. Storm Team 8 was hearing that M-89 was impassable near Richland due to flooding.

There were serious storms earlier Monday, including a microburst in the Wyoming/Kentwood area and a tornado in Portland. After the first line of storms cleared the area earlier in the day, filtered sunshine emerged and that acted to again destabilize the atmosphere. An approaching cold front made the second line of storms Monday night possible.

TORNADO IN PORTLAND

A confirmed EF-1 tornado touched down in Portland Monday afternoon, according to National Weather Service meteorologists who surveyed the damage. The tornado left a path of collapsed or damaged buildings and debris, and five people sustained minor injuries. DETAILS HERE.

The tornado was only on the ground for about 10 minutes which the National Weather Service said was too quick to signal a warning.

“We get a low level scan every 2-3 minutes, but with this storm only being on the ground for about 10 minutes it was probably 2-3 minutes before it picked up anything that would’ve carried it high enough for our radar beam to detect. At the same time, it looks like the width of this tornado was probably about 50 yards or less,” said an official with the National Weather Service.

Tornado sirens did go off in the Portland area around 9:45 p.m. Monday where there was a tornado earlier in the day, but Storm Team 8 and the National Weather Service said there did not seem to be any worry of a second tornado as there was no rotation in the storm. Still, the sirens were sounded out of an abundance of caution after an untrained spotter told authorities they may have spotted a funnel cloud.

MICROBURST IN WYOMING AREA

Strong to severe storms were reported through West Michigan Monday afternoon. A small microburst was detected on radar around the Wyoming area around 1:10p.m. Storm damage has been clustered around this microburst with downed tree limbs and power outages. You can see it on “velocity” mode on the radar. It is the bright green signature, indicating strong inbound winds.

velocity

TWO ROUNDS OF STORMS

More strong to severe storms arrived later Monday evening. West Michigan was in the “slight” risk area for the potential second wave of severe weather.

(The Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlook for Monday highlights storm activity focused over the southern Great Lakes.)
(The Storm Prediction Center’s severe weather outlook for Monday highlights storm activity focused over the southern Great Lakes.)

Strong winds persisted between the two areas of storms, with sustained winds as high as 50 mph.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Live West Michigan radar

Trees knocked down at a home on Clay Avenue near 44th Street in Wyoming. (Courtesy Brennan Prill via Twitter/June 22, 2015)
(A tree knocked down at a home on Clay Avenue near 44th Street in Wyoming. (Courtesy Brennan Prill via Twitter/June 22, 2015)

>>Photos: June 22 severe weather

That secondary area of storms was expected to create torrential rainfall, frequent lightning, damaging winds and possibly even isolated tornadoes.

Storms could also have developed over Michigan independent of any organized system. These storms could have contained strong winds and isolated tornadoes.

Probability of damaging thunderstorm winds or wind gusts of 50 knots or higher within 25 miles of a point. Hatched Area: 10% or greater probability of wind gusts 65 knots or greater within 25 miles of a point.
(Probability of damaging thunderstorm winds or wind gusts of 50 knots or higher within 25 miles of a point.
Hatched Area: 10% or greater probability of wind gusts 65 knots or greater within 25 miles of a point.)

POWER OUTAGES

A few thousand Consumers Energy customers in Kent County lost power for a time Monday afternoon after the first line of storms, but it had been restored for many by around 7:15 p.m.

After the second round of storms, around 2 a.m, about 4,500 customers in Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties combined were without power. There were smaller outages in Allegan, Barry and Van Buren counties.

>>Inside woodtv.com: Interactive power outage map

Consumers said earlier Monday that it had crews around the state prepared to respond to outages and mobile storm units in position to go out in the field.

People can call 211 for safety concerns or to find out if emergency services are available in their area. Report an outage at 800.477.5050 and choose option 1 or visit consumersenergy.com/outagecenter.

ROAD CONDITIONS

There was water over some streets Monday afternoon — much of it only a few inches of nuisance flooding.

But it was worse in some areas. A 24 Hour News 8 viewer sent in a photo of at least a foot of water over Diamond Avenue NE between Spencer and Sweet streets in Grand Rapids around 2:15 p.m.

Flooding on Diamond Avenue between Spencer and Sweet streets in Grand Rapids. (June 22, 2015)
(Flooding on Diamond Avenue NE between Spencer and Sweet streets.)

Avoid driving through water-covered stretches. You may think you can tell how deep the water is, but it can be much deeper than expected and you may end up stranded.

Drivers’ visibility was sometimes quite limited as the storm moved through and heavy rain fell.

Another viewer sent 24 Hour News 8 a photo of a semi-truck tipped over on I-96 at M-6. The viewer said no one appeared to have been injured.

A viewer photo of a semi-truck rolled over on I-96 near M-6. (June 22, 2015)
(A semi-truck rolled over on I-96 near M-6.)

FLIGHTS

The Gerald R. Ford International Airport tweeted that many Chicago-bound flights were cancelled for Monday. Check flight information here: http://www.grr.org/RTFI.php.

(Analog guidance compares similar weather setups to this one and shows severe weather outcomes. In the top 15 similar weather setups, many strong wind reports were tallied, a few tornadoes were reported and relatively few hail reports were made. Courtesy: Cooperative Institute for Precipitation Studies.)
(Analog guidance compares similar weather setups to this one and shows severe weather outcomes. In the top 15 similar weather setups, many strong wind reports were tallied, a few tornadoes were reported and relatively few hail reports were made. Courtesy: Cooperative Institute for Precipitation Studies.)

—–

Inside woodtv.com:

Storm Team 8 Forecast

Storm Team 8 app

Grand Rapids and Michigan Radar

WOOD TV8 provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s