19 years later: Inside the derecho t-storm outbreak that hit W. MI

Josh and Melissah Doohen (center) distributed more than 300 sandwiches and 100 pizzas after the tornado hit their state on May 30, 1998. (AP Photo/Dave Weaver)

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (WOOD) — Exactly 19 years ago Wednesday, one of the worst thunderstorm events in world history swept through West Michigan.

The infamous derecho thunderstorm outbreak of 1998 killed four people and injured 153 others in Michigan.

West Michigan derecho 1998
A radar animation showing the derecho that hit West Michigan in 1998.

The storms swept into West Michigan around 5 a.m. on a Sunday, packing winds of up to 130 mph in Grand Haven and Walker.

The punishing winds left a long swath of damage from South Dakota all the way to the East Coast. At one point, not a single stoplight was working between Grand Rapids and Baldwin.

While countless homes and businesses lost power during the storm, Storm Team 8 Chief Meteorologist Bill Steffen says it could have been much worse.

Read more about the historic outbreak on Bill’s Blog.