“Landspout” Tornado in W. Michigan

The pic. at the top is a still from a video from Sylvia Medina of a “landspout” tornado that occurred Friday evening in Grand Junction, Michigan.  If you check the video at the link, you’ll see something ribbonlike (plastic strips?  someone suggested irrigation hose?) getting hoisted into the air.  The ribbon showed the upward motion and the rotation of the tornado.  Tornadoes come in different shapes and sizes.

  Here’s four radar images with notes from Kyle Underwood.  One characteristic of a landspout tornado is no lightning (so not a “thunderstorm”).  We have had discussions about what the response should be in a situation like this.  Do you issue a tornado warning?  A tornado warning would cause a lot of people to take action over a relatively large area?  Would that be warranted?  Or would it be better to give the storm another one or two radar scans.  Landspouts generally dissipate quickly, maybe before people could even take action.  Also, technically, a tornado should  have horizontal wind speeds of at least 40 mph.  If it’s less than than 40 mph, it’s not going to do any damage or cause any injuries.  We’ve had 40 mph wind gusts a dozen times already this year.

Here’s another view of the landspout funnel (probably not a tornado a this point – not touching the ground).  Visual might make you doubt a +40 mph wind.  I don’t have an exact time on the landspout, but I looked at 9 pm observations.  All stations in W. Michigan had a wind under 10 mph.  The wind in Kalamazoo was south at 9 mph, Benton Harbor southwest at 7 mph, S. Haven southwest at 3 mph.  There might have been a little surface convergence here.

  This picture of the landspout tornado was from Cindy Stokes Johnson.  If you’d like to learn more about tornadoes and severe storms, check out the online booklet “Advanced Spotters Field Guide”.  Here’s a video “Landspout vs. tornado“.  Note the example they use for the landspout is from a wind coming off Lake Michigan, similar to the case last night.  Here’s another video on a landspout tornado in SW Chicago.

Here’s a pic. of the clouds looking back toward G.R. from Muskegon Fri. evening (from “TMS”).  We had some showers in the G.R. area at the time.  Hey, if you like storms…check out this video of shoveling hail in Girona, Spain.  Look at the river of rain and hail.

  Here’s severe reports from Friday – one short-lived EF1 tornado at Hills Corners NY, 92 severe wind reports (up to 80 mph at Levelland TX) and 33 severe hail reports (up to 3″ in diameter in north TX and OK.




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