GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Two lines of strong storms moved through southwestern Michigan Sunday night and into Monday, prompting several severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings.
As the first line of storms swept through the region on Sunday night, there were reports of a tornado touching down near Coldwater. There was some structural damage, along with a dozen downed trees. News 8 did not hear any reports of serious injuries.
As of 7 a.m. Monday, the National Weather Service said it had not been able to confirm the tornado. While it acknowledged reports of a tornado on the ground from two spotters and rotation on radar, it also noted that it was dark at the time and that it had not yet taken significant damage reports from the area. The NWS was continuing to look into what happened.
Storm chaser Ryan Harriott captured this shot of a wall cloud lowering from the tornado-warned storm:
Also during the first round of storms, a tree fell on a house along Paw Paw Lake in Texas Township, southwest of Kalamazoo. One person was trapped in a house but was soon freed by firefighters. A News 8 crew saw that person was responsive and talking to firefighters while being loaded into an ambulance.
A swath of Berrien and Van Buren counties saw hail. In the Keeler and Dewey Lake areas, about 2-inch hail was reported. Parts of southern Kalamazoo County saw tree damage.
The second line of storms started to cause concern in southwestern counties around 1 a.m., leading to several more severe thunderstorm and tornado warnings but no confirmed tornadoes. Lawton reported at least one 65 mph wind gust. There was sporadic damage near Lawton — where some trees were toppled or their tops sheared off — as well as in the Mattawan and Paw Paw areas.
Overnight, lightning struck the WOOD 106.9 FM radio transmitter in Muskegon, causing it to catch fire. The WOOD-FM signal is expected down for about a week, according to Tim Feagan with iHeartMedia. Listeners can still find WOOD Radio at 1300 AM and the iHeart Radio app.
While many parts of West Michigan saw rain Sunday and Monday, the worst of the storms were in the I-94 corridor and south. Paw Paw say 3.28 inches of rain across both lines of storms. Flood advisories were issued for Allegan, Calhoun, Kalamazoo and Van Buren counties.
The storms were part of a large cluster that swept through the Midwest and spawned a tornado in the Chicago suburb of Woodridge that destroyed several homes and injured several people. Across the Midwest, the storms prompted some 200 reports of severe weather including winds, hail and tornadoes.
West Michigan escaped the storms without widespread power outages. While some Consumers Energy and Indiana Michigan Power customers remained without service early Monday evening, restoration efforts had continued at a steady clip all day.
Storm Team 8 is always tracking as storms develop. Make sure you have a way to receive weather alerts, and have a safe place to shelter if any severe warnings are issued for your area. You can download the Storm Team 8 weather app here for iPhone and iPad and here for Android.