We’ve had a relatively quiet period for severe weather in the U.S. (and in the world) this summer and fall. We had just 19 reported tornadoes in the entire U.S. during the month of September. That’s less than half the number of tornadoes we had in the U.S. last January in the middle of winter!
However, a significant tornado outbreak occurred this Friday PM/night. Twenty tornadoes were reported Friday afternoon/night. “Widespread structural damage and injuries” were reported in Isabel, Oklahoma. There was two fatalities and dozens of injuries. Idabel OK measured a wind gust to 108 mph! McCurtain Co OK reported heavy damage to a Medical Center and a school in Isabel. At least one church was totally destroyed. Here’s damage at New Boston TX. The Dallas Airport had a gusts to 63 mph.
1 to 1 1/2″ diameter hail fell around Madison, West Allis, Mayville and Columbus, Wisconsin. There were 11 reports of severe criteria hail in Wisconsin on Friday and several more in E. Iowa.
There was a General (not severe) Risk of a thunderstorm over West Michigan – There were some flashes of lightning, notably around Muskegon and Big Rapids, but no severe weather was reported in Michigan.
Here’s current radar. At mid-afternoon Friday, there was a strong thunderstorm over Lake Michigan west of Muskegon that prompted a Special Marine Warning. That storm did weaken a bit before it reached the Michigan shore.
Once again, the Storm Prediction Center did an excellent job outlining areas with the best potential for severe weather. This was the tornado outlook Friday AM. If you were in these areas (especially the red area on the map below, you would have time to be in a safe place when the storms moved into your area.
The map above showed the percent probability forecast of a tornado within 25 miles of a given point. 15% is a significant risk. The Hatched Area: 10% or greater probability of EF2 – EF5 tornadoes within 25 miles of a point. (More Info). EF2 – EF5 refer to wind speeds and damage on the Enhanced Fujita Scale. A hatched area usually brings storm chasers out to spot for tornadoes. Isabel, Oklahoma is in the farthest southeast county in Oklahoma, so this again was a good forecast.
Here’s the Severe Weather Outlook Map for this Saturday 11/5. Two things to note. The General (not severe) Thunderstorm Risk covers part of West Michigan. We will all have strong winds due to the circulation around an intense low pressure center that will pass to our northwest during the day) and showers, but we are not expecting any significant severe thunderstorms in Lower Michigan at this point. However, a few wind gusts could be strong enough to approach severe thunderstorm levels (58 mph or greater).
SPC says: “
...farther north and east across MI/OH, weaker but lower- altitude buoyancy is possible just ahead of the cold-core DCVA plume this afternoon, and a narrow/low-topped convective band (perhaps with no lightning) rooted near the surface may develop. Strong gusts directly related to convection (as opposed to gradients winds only somewhat convectively augmented) cannot be ruled out. Still, organized severe potential appears minimal, given a lack of substantial low-level instability/lapse rates. Winds should gradually diminish later Saturday night, though it will still be breezy on Sunday.