NWS: 3 tornadoes in SW Michigan Tuesday

Niles, tornado
Crews work to clean up damage in Niles after a Feb. 28, 2017 tornado.


NILES, Mich. (WOOD) — The National Weather Service says three EF-1 tornadoes touched down in Southwest Michigan Tuesday night.

According to preliminary information from the NWS in Northern Indiana, the first twister was on the ground in near Eastside Elementary in Niles for about two minutes just before 9 p.m. It traveled about half a mile with a maximum width of 100 yards. Peak winds were estimated at 105 mph.

Niles, tornado
Crews work to clean up damage in Niles after a Feb. 28, 2017 tornado.

The NWS said there was “extensive” tree damage within about five blocks, with some large trees falling on houses and vehicles.

The second tornado happened around Dowagiac just a couple of minutes later. It touched down in a field southwest of town and over the next four minutes traveled about five miles northeast with a maximum width of 100 yards. Peak winds were estimated at 105 mph.

The tornado led to tree damage, destroyed two mobile homes and caused minor damage to a house. It also crossed through the Dowagiac Elks Golf Club before lifting at Dowagiac Creek.

About 10 minutes later, the third tornado happened southwest of Vandalia, the NWS says. It touched around 9:12 p.m. in a wooded area near Brownsville Street and Calvin Center Road, then tracked northeast for about three minutes and 2.7 miles before dissipating near Donnell Lake. Its maximum width was about 150 yards and its estimated peak winds were 110 mph.

The NWS says the twister just missed a church near the place where it started, stripping away siding and shingles. It then went on to uproot several large trees and pull up a chain-link fence, blow the roof off a mobile home and a garage, and twist a two-story house on its foundation. There was also tree damage along the tornado’s path all the way to Paradise Lake, where there was some roof and siding damage to more houses and a few uprooted trees landed on houses.

>>App users: Click here to see a map tracking the tornadoes

No one was injured in any of the tornadoes.

They marked only the second, third and fourth time there was a tornado in Michigan in February since 1950. The first happened exactly 43 years prior on Feb. 28, 1974 near Detroit. No one was hurt or injured in that tornado.