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Tag Archive | "National Weather Service"

Tornado confirmed in Kent/Ionia Counties


This covered bridge at Tyler Creek in Bowne Township sustained damage from Monday night’s tornado. It was built in 1955. Photo from Woodtv.com.

This covered bridge at Tyler Creek in Bowne Township sustained damage from Monday night’s tornado. It was built in 1955. Photo from Woodtv.com.

By Judy Reed

Tornado sirens sounded here in Cedar Springs and all across Kent County Monday evening, April 10, as severe thunderstorms rolled through.

N-Tornado2-pathThe National Weather Service in Grand Rapids confirmed that a brief EF-1 tornado formed and touched down in southeast Kent County about 8:36 p.m. and traveled about five miles into.

According to the NWS report: “Dozens of large trees were snapped or uprooted and three barns were heavily damaged. The damage began on 100th St just east of Alden Nash Ave and then continued to the east-northeast, crossing Wingeier Ave where a barn lost metal roofing. One metal section was carried 0.6 miles by the tornado and landed in a field. The tornado damage intensified as the funnel narrowed and crossed 92nd St in the vicinity of the Tyler Creek Golf Course, where a swath of trees were snapped and uprooted. Peak winds in this area were estimated at 90 mph. The tornado crossed Freeport Ave and Keim Road. It then crossed Hastings Road with peak winds estimated around 65 mph, taking down large tree limbs. The damage ended around Bell Road north of Keim Road.”

The tornado lasted about five minutes. It was the first tornado in Kent County this year. Last year there were two.

Next week (April 16-22) is Severe Weather Awareness Week, and according to Michigan’s Committee for Severe Weather Awareness, there were 16 tornadoes across Michigan in 2016. Michigan averages about 15 each year. Six of the 16 tornadoes occurred across the Upper Peninsula, a record for that peninsula. All of the tornadoes in Michigan were in the weak categories of EF0 and EF1 (tornadoes are rated from the weakest EF0 to the strongest EF5).

The August 20, 2016 tornado outbreak across southwest Lower Michigan was the most damaging and significant event across the state in 2016. Six tornadoes touched down from Bangor to Grand Rapids to Orleans, causing over $5 million in damages. The longest and strongest of the August 20 tornadoes touched down just southwest of Bangor and then tracked through the town. The 10-mile long EF-1 winds estimated up to 110 mph, caused the entire city to lose power and downed hundreds of trees. Multiple structures in Bangor were damaged, including the police department. The outbreak also produced two EF0 tornadoes in the metro Grand Rapids area. The first hit Grandville and Wyoming, and the second was in Grand Rapids. Both of these tornadoes downed trees, some onto homes.

Kent County has seen 35 tornadoes from 1950-2016, the second highest number of tornadoes in the state. Genesee leads with 45 tornadoes during that same time frame, and Kent is followed by Monroe County with 34, and Allegan with 33.

“Severe Weather Awareness Week is the time of year to learn what to do before, during and after severe weather occurs,” said Capt. Chris A. Kelenske, Deputy State Director of Emergency Management and Homeland Security and commander of the MSP/EMHSD. “That includes flooding, thunderstorms and tornadoes. By taking the initiative and learning about possible hazards, you and your family will be better prepared when an emergency or disaster happens.”

Spring and summer frequently bring fast-changing weather conditions that increase the potential for severe weather. Steps can be taken to prepare before severe weather strikes to minimize damage and ensure safe evacuation or shelter, such as understanding severe weather warnings and terms, preparing an emergency supply kit, making an emergency plan, and creating an emergency contact list.

To learn more about severe weather in Michigan and what you should do, download the Severe Weather Awareness packet at https://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/SWApacket_554981_7.pdf.

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Tornado/high winds warning sirens start testing Friday


 

April 16-22 is Michigan Severe Weather Awareness Week 

In 2016, the August 20 tornado outbreak across West Michigan caused over five million dollars in damage. The National Weather Service determined that six tornadoes touched down in a matter of hours, including two EFO tornadoes in Grandville, Wyoming and Grand Rapids. The State of Michigan was hit by 16 tornadoes last year, just slightly higher than the average 15 per year. Kent County has a system of sirens to alert residents of high winds or tornadoes. Starting Friday, April 7, 2017 and continuing on the first Friday of every month at 12:00 noon through October, tornado alarm testing will be heard in Kent County homes and businesses.

It is important to plan in advance for disasters to know how you and your family will get to a safe place, how to contact each other and what to do in different situations. “Traffic was a dilemma in the initial hours after the tornadoes hit Kent County last August,” said Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “Trees and debris in roadways made getting around difficult. Determine a location where you will meet your family during an emergency, both near your house and further away, in case your neighborhood streets are closed.”

If a disaster occurs, it may be easier to make a phone call to a designated out-of-town contact, as phone lines may be overwhelmed. Make sure that person is aware that he or she is the designated contact. Pet owners should have a disaster plan for pets as well. This is a great time to review severe weather plans, refresh supplies and make sure preparations are complete. Check flashlights and stock up on fresh batteries. Homes should have enough fresh drinking water and canned food items for three days, a can opener, an all-weather radio, and a first aid kit.

If you don’t hear the sirens April 7, 2017 at noon, please contact your local township or city office. Be vigilant whenever severe weather is in the forecast. While no location is completely safe from a tornado or severe thunderstorm, it is important to seek all possible protection. For more about severe weather, go to http://www.michigan.gov/documents/msp/SWApacket_554981_7.pdf.

Smartphone apps are available that will provide notification of weather watches and warnings. Severe weather watch means the potential exists for the development of storms/tornadoes, so be mindful of changing conditions. Severe weather warning mean that storms are imminent or occurring. Move indoors to a place of safety. If it is a Tornado Warning, take shelter in a location on the lowest level of the building, such as the basement, or in a small, windowless room at the innermost part of the building.

While some communities in Michigan plan to test their severe weather alerts on Wednesday, April 19, at 1:00 p.m., Kent County will test sirens on the first Friday in April, as has been a long-standing policy in the County. We encourage businesses owners, school officials and families to set aside April 19 as a day to review emergency plans and procedures.)

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SKYWARN® Training Offered 


This tornado photo was taken on May 24, 1973 in Union City, Oklahoma. Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) 

This tornado photo was taken on May 24, 1973 in Union City, Oklahoma. Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)

Kent County saw several severe storms last year, including the outbreak on August 20 that included tornados and high wind damage. There were no fatalities, perhaps due to early warning by the National Weather Service and weather spotters trained in the SKYWARN® Course.

The National Weather Service SKYWARN volunteer program has trained nearly 290,000 severe weather spotters nationwide. “We appreciate having these men and women keeping their local communities safe during storms and other weather threats,” said Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “They provide real-time, accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service, where their staff alerts our first responders about imminent danger.” Training will be offered free at:

Grandville High School
4700 Canal Ave SE
Grandville, MI 49418
Thursday, March 16, 2017 – 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Register in advance at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kent-ottawa-severe-weather- spotter-training-2017-registration-28894842251?aff=es2.

The program is recommended for ages 11 and older. Those with an interest in weather, serving the public and who have access to communications equipment (ham radios, cell phones, etc.) are encouraged to attend. Volunteers in the past have includes first responders, dispatchers, public utility workers and concerned private citizens. Spotters also include people who work at hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes.

Those who attend the free three-hour training will leave the course as spotters, capable of identifying and describing severe local storms and damage threats. The volunteers are not “storm chasers” who travel hundreds of miles to seek out storms; most of the volunteers will monitor the skies or rivers from near their homes. Safety of spotters is a top priority.

According the National Weather Service (NWS) Skywarn website:

Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN® spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. 

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Six tornadoes hit West Michigan 


Tornado damage at Burton and Burlingame SW, Wyoming. Photo credit Lacey Wakefield.

Tornado damage at Burton and Burlingame SW, Wyoming. Photo credit Lacey Wakefield.

The National Weather Service confirmed that six tornadoes occurred in West Michigan on Saturday afternoon, August 20, including two in the Grand Rapids metro area.

Damaging straight-line wind gusts have also been noted near the tornado paths.

Sirens went off here in Cedar Springs, and while we had some intense rain, we didn’t suffer the effects of the tornado. According to the National Weather Service, the following areas in West Michigan experienced tornadoes:

EF-1 tornado damage was found between Bangor and Grand Junction, ending in far southern Allegan County.

An EF-1 tornado touched down just southwest of Bangor Michigan on Saturday, August 20th about 1:13 p.m. and tracked northeast through town. The entire city lost power as well as hundreds of trees. Multiple structures in Bangor were damaged as well. Roof damage was noted on Main Street. New Beginning Ministries and the Bangor Police Department sustained damage. The tornado then tracked further northeast, causing significant damage at True Blue Farms along County Road 215 and the Columbia Township Hall in Grand Junction. The tornado tracked into extreme southern Allegan County before lifting about 2.5 miles northeast of Grand Junction on 103rd Ave west of 52nd Street about 1:31 p.m.

A tornado (EF-1) southeast of Fennville, to east of Hamilton, in Allegan County.

Tornado damage in Bangor. Photo credit South Haven Emergency Services.

Tornado damage in Bangor. Photo credit South Haven Emergency Services.

After the first tornado of the day (EF-1) tracked from Bangor to north of Grand Junction, the second tornado of the day began 6 miles southeast of Fennville about 1:42 p.m. and tracked to 4 miles northeast of Hamilton and was rated EF-1. It ended about 2:10 p.m.

A tornado (EF-1) south of Jamestown in far northern Allegan County and Southeastern Ottawa County.

The day’s third tornado, also rated EF-1, began 2 miles northwest of Burnips in extreme north-central Allegan County about 2:18 p.m. and tracked to 2 miles southeast of Jamestown in extreme southeast Ottawa County. It ended at 2:26 p.m.

EF-0 tornado damage was found in Grandville and Wyoming. EF-0 to EF-1 wind damage was also found south and east of this tornado across parts of Byron Township, Wyoming, Grand Rapids, and East Grand Rapids.

An EF-0 tornado touched down near 44th Street and Ivanrest Ave SW in Grandville Michigan on Saturday August 20th about 2:34 p.m. and continued on the ground along a varying path through Grandville and Wyoming before lifting near the intersection of Nagel Avenue SW and Chicago Drive SW about 2:44 p.m. Though the tornado remained west of US-131, it did zigzag across a number of major roads/intersections in the Grand Rapids metro area including Ivanrest Avenue SW just north of Rivertown Parkway; the intersection of Byron Center Ave SW and 36th Street; 28th Street SW near Sharon Avenue SW; Porter Street SW near Boulevard Drive SW; and Burlingame Avenue SW just north of Burton Street SW. Along the path, hundreds of trees were damaged or knocked over resulting in tens of thousands of power outages. Many homes and a number of vehicles were damaged from fallen trees. A couple notable locations the tornado moved through include the Wyoming Middle School football field where a set of football field goal posts were bent by soccer goals, and Battjes Park and Prairie Park where a number of trees were damaged or uprooted.

In addition to an EF-0 tornado that moved through portions of Grandville and Wyoming on August 20th, National Weather Service damage surveys identified areas of straight line wind damage in Kent County from August 20th storms.

Estimated winds of around 100mph, were equivalent to EF-1 wind damage. A small area of wind damage caused by estimated 100 mph winds was found near M6 between Ivanrest Ave SW and Kenowa Avenue SW. South of M6, Ironwood Golf Course saw the worst of the damage losing a significant number of large trees. North of M6, just west of Wilson Ave SW along 64th Street, a number of very large trees were uprooted causing significant damage to one home.

Estimated winds of 65 to 75 mph equivalent to EF-0 wind damage were  also seen. A long stretch of straight line wind damage occurred from just northeast of the intersection of M6 and Wilson Avenue SW through East Grand Rapids. Notable locations that were impacted by straight line winds include Maple Hill Golf Course and Pinery Park. This damage was mainly to trees with a few fallen trees resulting in damage to homes.

Northeast Grand Rapids EF-0 Tornado. 

A brief tornado touched down in Kent County about 2:50 p.m. near Perkins Avenue NE between Leonard Street NE and Knapp Street NE. Tree damage and some property damage from fallen trees occurred as the result of this brief tornado, which lifted about 2:52 p.m.

A tornado (EF-1) between Orleans and Fenwick in Ionia and Montcalm Counties.

Tornado damage began just east of the small town of Orleans about 3:10 p.m. and moved northeast where it crossed M-44, bringing several large trees down, one of which fell on a house. The tornado then crossed West Long Lake Road where the concrete block wall of a garage was blown out and the wind peeled shingles off the roof of a house. A path of tree damage about a hundred yards wide continued to the northeast and narrowed as it crossed the Montcalm County line. The last damage noted was a few downed trees on East Boyer Road about 3.5 miles southeast of Sheridan. It lifted about 3:25 p.m.

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Time to prepare for severe weather


Last year (2015) followed a similar pattern as the past two years, with fewer days of severe weather activity but, when it hit, the severe weather was more impactful, with higher winds, larger hail and significant damage in Michigan.

Last year (2015) followed a similar pattern as the past two years, with fewer days of severe weather activity but, when it hit, the severe weather was more impactful, with higher winds, larger hail and significant damage in Michigan.

Each year, the Michigan Committee for Severe Weather Awareness sponsors Severe Weather Awareness Week to highlight the need to be prepared in the event of severe weather. This year it runs April 10-16. As residents in Portland, Michigan learned last year, severe weather doesn’t always give you a lot of time to prepare so let’s get ready now and make the severe weather season a safe one.

Save the Date: 2016 statewide tornado drill

Local and state emergency management officials are asking Michiganders to take action to prepare by participating in a statewide tornado drill at 1:30 p.m. Eastern on Wednesday, April 13, 2016.

Government agencies, organizations, families and individuals are encouraged to be a part of this statewide preparedness activity, but are not required to do so. Nearly all state of Michigan facilities will be participating.

While tornadoes can occur during any time of the year, they are especially common during the late spring and early summer months. As one of nature’s most violent storms, they can devastate homes and property in just seconds.

The average lead time for tornadoes to develop is 10 to 15 minutes, which means citizens need to be ready to react quickly when a warning is issued. By taking a few extra steps and participating in the statewide tornado drill, citizens and businesses will be ready well in advance if a tornado ever occurs.

In the event of severe weather, the statewide tornado drill will be postponed until 1:30 p.m. EDT on Thursday, April 14, 2016.

2015 Severe Weather Review

Last year, Michigan had an average number of tornadoes, but it was a below average year for overall severe weather, including lightning, severe thunderstorm wind, hail, and flooding. Severe weather was responsible for seven injuries in the state during 2015, all on June 22. A tornado outbreak that spawned five tornadoes hit the state during the afternoon of June 22 and continued into the overnight hours of June 23. The Portland EF1 tornado was responsible for five of the injuries while the Birch Run-Millington EF2 tornado caused the other two injuries. While tornadoes are nature’s most violent weather, all forms of severe weather can have a huge impact on the State of Michigan. Michigan citizens need to be vigilant whenever severe weather is in the forecast, not only for tornadoes, but also for wind, hail, flooding and lightning.

Flooding, severe thunderstorms and tornadoes in 2015 caused over $130 million in damages. Nearly half of that total statewide damage occurred on one date, August 2, 2015. The total in damages in 2015 was down dramatically from the $2 billion in damages caused by severe weather in 2014, most notably from the August 11, 2014 Detroit floods. Last year (2015) followed a similar pattern as the past two years, with fewer days of severe weather activity but, when it hit, the severe weather was more impactful, with higher winds, larger hail and significant damage in Michigan.

Tornadoes and Severe Thunderstorms

In 2015, there were 14 tornadoes across the state, which is near the average of 15. Two days experienced most of the tornado activity: June 22-23 and November 6. The first tornado on June 22 was the Portland EF1 tornado that moved through the heart of the community during the afternoon hours affecting over 50 homes, businesses and churches. There were four additional tornadoes around the midnight hour as June 22 turned to June 23 across southeast Lower Michigan. The most significant of these was an EF2 tornado that developed near Birch Run before dissipating 10 miles later near Millington. This tornado touched down near the Pine Ridge RV Campground and severely damaged a couple houses as it moved into Tuscola County. A rare November severe line of thunderstorms developed over central Lower Michigan during the pre-dawn hours of November 6. This line would spawn three tornadoes across the Thumb region of Lower Michigan. The strongest was an EF1 just southwest of Applegate where a mobile home and several barns and outbuildings were destroyed.

Other damaging EF1 tornadoes occurred with severe thunderstorms. Those included the August 2 tornado in Owendale (Huron County), the August 8 tornado near Rose City (Ogemaw), and the December 23 tornado in Canton (Wayne). The Rose City tornado developed on September 8 and was on the ground for nearly nine miles. Most of the damage from this tornado was trees snapped or downed by the swirling winds. The Canton EF1 tornado was the first Michigan tornado in the month of December since records started in 1950! This storm proved once again that severe weather can develop during any month of the year if the atmospheric conditions are favorable.

The first severe weather event to hit the state occurred on April 9. Thunderstorms developed along a warm front across far southern Lower Michigan. These storms produced wind damage in Hillsdale, Muskegon, Kent and Montcalm counties totaling $100,000. The first Michigan tornado of 2015, a short-lived EF0, developed near the Hillsdale-Jackson County line.

A significant hail storm developed over Menominee County and then dropped two-inch diameter hail near the town of Stephenson on May 27. The hail damaged many homes, especially the roofs, for a half million dollars’ worth of damage.

Western Upper Michigan was again hit with severe storms on June 10. Thunderstorm winds up to 70 mph across Dickenson and Marquette counties downed numerous trees causing over $50,000 in damages.

During the late evening of July 13 and just past midnight on July 14, severe thunderstorms moved across west central Lower Michigan. Significant wind damage was reported across the region with many trees downed and a short-lived EF0 tornado near Alto. There was approximately $200,000 in estimated damages from the severe weather events.

By far, the most significant severe weather day for Michigan was August 2. It was the largest severe weather day in northern Michigan in more than a decade and the costliest severe weather day in the 20+ years for that region. In the day after the storm, nearly 75 percent of southern Leelanau County was without power. It took nearly a week to restore power to many of these areas. There were 100 mph winds around Sleeping Bear Dunes and Glen Arbor that caused widespread tree damage. Thousands of trees were damaged, closing roads and damaging hundreds of homes and businesses. Most of the attractions at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore were closed for nearly a week due to impassable roads and tree damage. The winds were so strong that they pushed water out of Little Glen Lake for a brief period in southern Leelanau County.

Governor Rick Snyder declared states of disaster in both Leelanau and Grand Traverse counties.

A squall line developed across eastern Wisconsin and then raced into northwest Lower Michigan during the early afternoon of August 2. This line of storms then pivoted southeast across most of the rest of Lower Michigan during the late afternoon and evening hours. Severe wind damage was recorded down to the border in Lenawee and Monroe counties. These storms also spawned an EF1 tornado in the Thumb town of Owendale. Wind damages from these storms were nearly $40 million.

The largest hailstone ever recorded in northern Michigan (since 1950), 4.25 inches, fell during the storm in West Branch. It was the 5th largest hailstone ever recorded in the state of Michigan (record is 4.50 inches). There was widespread hail damage throughout West Branch with hundreds of cars, homes and businesses damaged by the large hail. The total damage from the West Branch hail was over $30 million.

Flooding

Remarkably, there was very little flooding in the state during 2015. The only flood to cause any damage was in Lenawee County on June 27 when three to five inches of rain fell across far southeast Lower Michigan on June 27 to cap one of the wettest Junes on record for that portion of the state. Many roads were closed and a few were washed out. Total damage was estimated to be around $100,000.

What to do when a tornado warning is issued for your area:

· Quickly move to shelter in the basement or lowest floor of a permanent structure.

· In homes and small buildings, go to the basement and get under something sturdy, like a workbench or stairwell. If a basement is not available, go to an interior part of the home on the lowest level. A good rule of thumb is to put as many walls between you and the tornado as possible.

· In schools, hospitals and public places, move to the designated shelter areas. Interior hallways on the lowest floors are generally best.

· Stay away from windows, doors and outside walls. Broken glass and wind blown projectiles cause more injuries and deaths than collapsed buildings. Protect your head with a pillow, blanket, or mattress.

· If you are caught outdoors, a sturdy shelter is the only safe location in a tornado.

· If you are boating or swimming, get to land and seek shelter immediately.

Lightning

Lightning can provide a spectacular display of light in the nighttime sky, but this awesome show of nature can also cause death and destruction. Lightning is the visible discharge of electrical energy. It is often accompanied by thunder, which is a sonic boom created by the same discharge. It is important to remember that if you hear thunder, a storm is close enough for lightning to strike you, even if the storm seems miles away and the sky is blue.

Lightning safety tips

1. Plan your evacuation and safety measures. At the first sign of lightning or thunder, activate your emergency plan. Lightning often precedes rain, so do not wait for the rain to begin before suspending activities. No place is absolutely safe from lightning; however, some places are much safer than others. The safest location during lightning activity is a large enclosed building. The second safest location is an enclosed metal topped vehicle, but NOT a convertible, bike, or other topless or soft-top vehicle.

2. If outdoors, get inside a suitable shelter IMMEDIATELY. Your only safe choice is to get to a protected building or vehicle. Avoid seeking shelter under a tree as a tree can attract lightning. In the event you are outdoors without a safe vehicle or shelter, follow outdoor safety tips at www.lightningsafety.noaa.gov/outdoors.shtml Although these tips will not prevent you from being hit, they can help lessen the odds.

3. If indoors, avoid water, doors, windows, and using the telephone and headsets. Lightning could strike exterior wires, inducing shocks to inside equipment. Any item plugged into an electrical outlet may cause a hazard.

4. Do not resume activities until 30 minutes following the last observed lightning or thunder.

5. Injured persons do not carry an electrical charge and can be handled safely. If you are qualified to do so, apply first aid procedures to a lightning victim. Call 911 or send for help immediately.

For more information on how to stay safe during severe weather, download the entire severe weather packet from our website at www.cedarspringspost.com.

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Winter storm drops 10 inches of snow


Snow piled up on Main Street on Monday after Sunday’s storm. Post photo by J. Reed.

Snow piled up on Main Street on Monday after Sunday’s storm. Post photo by J. Reed.

Blowing, drifting and plowed snow surrounded The Springs Church parking lot Monday at First and Maple Streets. Post photo by J. Reed.

Blowing, drifting and plowed snow surrounded The Springs Church parking lot Monday at First and Maple Streets. Post photo by J. Reed.

February 2015 introduced itself Sunday with a winter blast that saw storm warnings issued across the Midwest from Iowa to the Great Lakes to New York.

The National Weather Service in Grand Rapids reported that the heaviest snow fell across northern Illinois, northern Indiana, and southern Lower Michigan. Grand Rapids and Cedar Springs were in a medium band and saw 8-10 inches of snow. A resident on Berrigan Ave reported 10 inches to the Post. Counties south and south east of us saw up to 18 inches, while counties to the north saw 4 to 6 inches.

This storm was the 5th largest snowstorm on record for Chicago, where 19.3 inches fell. Winds increased on the afternoon and evening of February 1, gusting to 30-35 mph across Lower Michigan. The wind was a significant factor in creating blowing snow, very low visibilities, and deep drifts. Arctic air wrapped in behind the storm system and skies cleared during the early morning hours of February 2, resulting in low temperatures in the single digits with wind chills down to -10 to -15 degrees.

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Tornado hits south of Grand Rapids


Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

By Judy Reed

 

Photo from WOODTV.com

Photo from WOODTV.com

The National Weather Service confirmed Monday that the damage done just south of Grand Rapids during thunderstorms on Sunday evening, July 6, was due to a tornado.

Calls began pouring into Kent County’s 911 dispatch about 10:30 p.m. reporting roofs caved in, power lines and trees down, and people trapped in homes and vehicles.

The tornado reportedly developed near 64th Street and Burlingame in Byron Center about 10:20 p.m, and traveled 6.25 miles, through Wyoming and Kentwood, ending at 28th Street and Breton. It was on the ground for about 10 minutes and produced significant damage. The NWS rated the tornado an EF-1, with maximum wind speeds from 100-110 mph. Its width was 300 to 400 yards wide. There were six injuries, and no fatalities. It was the first EF-1 in Kent County since 2001, and the first tornado since 2006, when an EF-0 hit Caledonia.

Daniel Cobb, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said it was definitely a tornado, and not straight-line winds, explaining during a news conference that the debris they surveyed had the classic signature of a tornado.

People have questioned why there was no warning with the tornado. Cobb explained that the tornado developed near the ground and grew upward. And, because of the time delay between radar scans, they didn’t realize it was there until they picked up the debris on radar that lifted in Kentwood. It was already lifting back up moments later, too late for a warning.

“They always want to get it right, and it kills them if it doesn’t play out right,” he explained. “If they warned on every scan that looked like a possible tornado, they would be warning all the time. We prefer to wait for two scans. We are trying to say with severe thunderstorms that a tornado is possible, and warn on the big tornadoes.”

“We are very successful at detecting big tornadoes that blow your house down,” he noted.

He also noted that these smaller tornadoes are not rare, but not frequent either. Here it just happened in a populated area. “You have to respect Mother Nature. Always be inside during a storm,” he urged.

On Wednesday, July 9, the NWS also confirmed another tornado that spawned from the storms that moved through Sunday evening and Monday morning, July 6-7. This one was an EF-0 in Ionia County, and developed about 12:16 a.m., July 7, just a couple of hours after the one near Grand Rapids. It started just east of Sunfield Highway, and south of Reeder Road. It went about one mile, ending just west of South Keefer highway, north of Reeder Road. It lasted about 4 minutes. One home lost roofing material and five farm buildings were damaged along Reeder Road. Tree and crop damage also occurred along the path of the tornado.

 

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Year in Review: Winter storm blasts area


Digging out was a common sight all across the area Friday, February 8. Post photo by J. Reed.

Digging out was a common sight all across the area Friday, February 8. Post photo by J. Reed.

Other than the flooding that hit the area, one of the biggest weather-related stories was when the first real snowstorm of the season hit us with 12-15 inches of heavy, wet snow February 7 and 8.

According to the National Weather Service, in some places it came down at a rate of two inches per hour.

People tried to dig out of the mess, but even if people got out of their driveway, they may not have been able to get down the road, since many roads were not plowed. Schools all across the area were canceled.

 

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Storm brings down tree, powerline


A storm that blew through the city of Cedar Springs Monday evening weakened just before it got here but was still strong enough to topple a tree and snap a telephone pole.

The storm came through between 7:30 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, June18. It was originally issued as a severe weather warning, with high wind gusts and marble size hail that could dent cars. Just before it hit the National Weather Service downgraded it and cancelled the warning, but that was little comfort to Wayne and June Price and others on Ronald Street in Cedar Springs who lost power.

Wayne sent us these pictures, and explained that “It poured, the wind blew, and toppled the neighbor’s tree into the road in front of our house, snapping our power pole at the end of our driveway. The top of the pole leaned over the road breaking our power lines to the house.” Consumers Power spent the night repairing the damage, and power was restored about 5 a.m.

 

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Inclement weather


The safety of our students is our number one priority.  In the event of inclement weather, Cedar Springs Public Schools will follow the National Weather Service warnings and watches to determine both current and likely future conditions.
Occasionally adverse weather conditions or other emergency situations may make it necessary to cancel school, delay the start of school, or send students home early.  When these situations occur, notice will be communicated to WOOD TV 8, WZZM Channel 13, and WXMI TV 17 through the Grand Rapids Area Information Line (GRAIL).
In a 2-hour delay students will be picked up by the bus approximately 2 hours later than their routine pick-up time. Morning ECSE and Preschool classes will be cancelled. With a 2-hour delay in effect, parents, students and staff should monitor the announcements in the event of the delay changing to a cancellation.  The buses will not transport students to the first session at the Kent ISD Skill Center when a school delay or cancellation is issued.

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