The National Weather Service has determined that 7 separate tornadoes hit Lower Michigan during the evening of August 24. The first twister occurred in Kent County, north and northwest of Grand Rapids in Alpine and Plainfield Townships. The second crossed from Ingham County into Livingston County, moving along I-96 for 1.5 miles. There were 5 other tornadoes near Detroit in Wayne and Monroe Counties.
The storms also produced a large area of 45-90 mph wind gusts that downed thousands of trees and wires. There was a continuous path of damage that started northwest of Marne and continued into northern Ohio.
A total of 400,000 customers lost power during the event, including over 200,000 Consumes Energy customers. I talked to utility crews from Tennessee and Alabama that had driving north to Michigan on Friday to help restore power. The team above was ready to replace a power pole that had snapped off in the wind. Downed trees and debris had to be cleared first, then the pole placed and finally, wires have to be restrung.
Five fatalities and a number of injuries were blamed on the storms, which also produced small hail and heavy rain.
Here’s some measured peak wind gusts: Lansing Airport 71 mph, Jackson 64 mph, Detroit 58 mph, Adrian 55 mph, Hillsdale 51 mph, Marshall 51 mph, Howell 49 mph, Ionia 49 mph, Muskegon 47 mph, Ann Arbor 47 mph, Grand Rapids 36 mph (airport) – though we had gusts up to 60-70 mph on the NE side of G.R.).
Here’s current Michigan weather observations, a Michigan weather map, the latest Grand Rapids National Weather Service discussion, current severe weather watches, current meso-discussions and current lightning data.
Here’s current radar:
We also had a Heat Advisory for Eaton, Ingham, Van Buren, Kalamazoo, Calhoun and Jackson Counties and an Excessive Heat Warning for the Michigan counties that border Indiana. Temperatures reached the low 90s with dewpoints near 80 (the most humid day of the summer). There was also an Air Quality Alert for Muskegon, Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Van Buren, Berrien and Cass Counties.
Dry and cooler weather followed this severe weather event.
While it was hot in SW Michigan, it’s been on the cool side in Alaska. The Barrow Airport was expecting a high temperature of 43 on Thursday, August 24. The high on Wed. was just 39. Nome reached 50 and Valdez on the south coast had a high of 60.