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Six confirmed tornadoes last weekend

Six confirmed tornadoes last weekend
Photo of a downed barn in Mecosta County near Sylvester. Photo from Fox17.

By Judy Reed

The National Weather Service has confirmed that Michigan had six tornadoes touch down during the storms that rolled through the state on Saturday, June 26—and four of them were in West Michigan. And that’s after not having a single tornado in Michigan in 2020.

Of the six tornadoes, two were in Ionia County; one was in Mecosta County; one touched down in Kent County near Lowell; one was in Clare County, and one in Huron County.

The NWS reported that the one that touched down near Sylvester, in Mecosta County, was an EF-1 that was on the ground for seven minutes. It touched down about 3:33 p.m. NE of 95th and 4 Mile Rd, and ended east of 70th Avenue between 5 and 6 Mile Rd about 3:41 p.m. It had maximum winds of 90 mph; a maximum width of 100 yards; and a path length of three miles. A wood-sided barn was destroyed just south of the 80th Ave and 5 Mile intersection. The tornado passed over a power substation at 75th Ave and 5 Mile, and then went NE through a field where a center pivot irrigator was tipped over. Along 70th Ave, between 5 and 6 Mile, an open air animal barn was torn apart with sheet metal deposited in the field downwind. Power poles were impacted by barn debris and snapped, and another pivot irrigator was tipped over. 

The tornado that touched down in Lowell was an EF-0 tornado that started three miles NW of Lowell, near Bennett St and Cumberland Ave. It was on the ground for a little over 1/2 mile and resulted in a number of trees and limbs that were snapped along the path. It stopped near Vergennes St east of Cumberland Ave. 

According to the Ionia Sentinel, Ionia County declared a state of emergency after two tornadoes and heavy rains from Saturday’s storms caused damage. The first tornado was an EF-0 tornado, which started near Vedder Road and east of Hastings Road about 4:31 p.m. It ended northeast of the intersection of Ball and Vedder roads about 4:33 p.m. Two properties were damaged before the tornado lifted. The tornado had peak wind speeds estimated around 75 mph.

Track of a tornado near Lake Odessa. Photo courtesy Ingham County Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.

The second one was an EF-1 tornado, near Lake Odessa. It moved west of Tasker Road and north of West Musgrove Highway about 4:40 p.m. with maximum winds of 90 mph. It ended northeast of Clarksville Road near M-66 about 4:45 p.m. The most damage occurred along Bippley Road, Jordan Lake Road, Ainsworth Road, and Harwood Road. Power lines were also brought down on Clarksville Road not far from where the tornado eventually ended. No injuries were reported in either Ionia County tornado.

The strongest tornado touched down in Huron County, in the Port Austin area. A strong EF2 tornado with 120 mph winds took the roofs off several homes. It went nearly 7 miles before exiting land and moving out into Lake Huron as a waterspout. Six people were injured by the Port Austin tornado.

Wind damage near Magician Lake in far northwest Cass County was determined to be straight-line thunderstorm winds of 80-90 mph. 

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