tornadoes

Environment & Science
1:20 pm
Sat November 16, 2013

Strong storms possible across south Michigan

Storms are expected to start in southwest Michigan on Saturday night. Damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph and a chance of tornadoes are possible on Sunday afternoon and evening in southeast Michigan.
NOAA

DETROIT (AP) - The National Weather Service is forecasting a chance of strong thunderstorms starting Saturday night through Sunday in much of southern Michigan.

The storms are expected to start in southwest Michigan on Saturday night. Damaging wind gusts up to 70 mph and a chance of tornadoes are possible on Sunday afternoon and evening in southeast Michigan.

Environment & Science
8:30 am
Sat June 8, 2013

Residents remember the horrific Beecher tornado on its 60th anniversary

Damage from the Beecher, Michigan tornado of 1953
http://www.noaanews.noaa.gov/stories/s1135.htm NOAA

Today is the 60th anniversary of the tornado that ravaged the small community of Beecher, Michigan. According to Jake May at MLive, the F5 tornado killed 116 people and destroyed nearly 350 homes.

Check out a video created by the Flint Journal that documents people’s story from the tragic event:

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Environment & Science
2:35 pm
Wed May 29, 2013

Tornado touched down in Atlas township last night

Tornadoes in Michigan aren't common, but one did pass through Atlas Township
National Weather Service

Tornado conditions merely amounted to warnings in Washtenaw County, but a tornado did touch down in Atlas township last night.

Ron Fonger, of MLive.com reported that the majority of the damage was probably caused by small twisters as well:

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Politics & Government
7:53 am
Wed May 29, 2013

In this morning's news: Diane Hathaway sentenced, additional funding for schools, weather update

In this morning's news...
Brother O'Mara Flickr

Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice sentenced to jail time

“Former Michigan Supreme Court Justice Diane Hathaway was sentenced to one year and one day in federal custody, for the crime of bank fraud. Federal prosecutors say Diane Hathaway illegally concealed a million dollars in assets, so she could qualify for favorable terms on a short sale of one of her homes in Michigan. The defendant had hoped to avoid prison time,” Michigan Radio's Vincent Duffy reports.

Michigan schools could see increase in state funding

“Michigan public schools would see more state funding under a budget plan approved by the state House. Every school would see at least a five-dollar per-pupil boost. Schools getting the minimum amount from the state could receive up to 60 dollars more per student. The state Senate is expected to take up the education budget today,” Michigan Radio’s Jake Neher reports.

Strong winds and funnel clouds cause damage in Michigan

"The National Weather Service reported several funnel cloud sightings in Michigan last night, including a tornado that landed near Goodrich High School southeast of Flint. No injuries were immediately reported. The weather service says high winds in the same severe thunderstorm system heavily damaged several homes, toppling numerous trees and power lines," the Associated Press reports.

Politics & Government
10:32 am
Tue May 21, 2013

Michigan volunteers preparing to go to Oklahoma, how you can help

The May 20th tornado touches down SW of Moore, OK.
YouTube

Rescue workers in Oklahoma are searching through the wreckage this morning looking for survivors.

With all the destruction, experts think this tornado could be listed as the costliest in U.S. history.

This tweet shows it all:

Reports of the number killed in the tornado have been going up and down this morning. Mark Memmott at NPR's Two-Way blog is keeping track of events as they unfold.

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Environment & Science
12:59 pm
Tue April 16, 2013

The top 10 tornado counties in Michigan

Cleaning up after the Dexter tornado in March of 2012.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

Spring storms are returning to the Midwest.

Warm air meeting cold air is often used as an explanation for how tornadoes form, but that's a "gross oversimplification" according to Roger Edwards of the National Weather Service's Storm Prediction Center.

That's how many thunderstorms form, but most of those storms don't turn into tornadoes. Edwards writes, "the truth is that we don't fully understand [how tornadoes form]."

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Dexter Tornado
4:34 pm
Tue March 20, 2012

Dexter Township spends $200K to aid cleanup efforts after tornado

Repairing homes damaged by an F3 tornado in Dexter, Michigan.
Steve Carmody Michigan Radio

The cleanup effort is well underway after last week’s tornado in Dexter.

Steve Feinman, a trustee for Dexter Township, says volunteers have been incredibly helpful, and the township has hired a contractor to help with the cleanup.

Rather than wait to see if the state will send disaster relief funds, the township has gone ahead and allocated $200,000 from its own budget to help residents "remove trees and branches and shrub material that was damaged." Fineman says residents can bring those materials to the edge of the roadside for pickup. 

"You can’t wait for a state declaration to make sure your main thoroughfares are open, or people can get out of their houses and have their utilities back, so it’s a necessary thing," explains Fineman.

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Dexter Tornado
10:42 am
Fri March 16, 2012

Hudson Mills Metropark golf course severely damaged in storm

An F3 tornado strikes Dexter. This is a screenshot from footage taken at Hudson Mills Metropark.
Matthew Altruda YouTube

Staff at the Hudson Mills Metropark say their golf course near Dexter suffered significant damage from last night's F3 tornado that touched down around 5:30 p.m. From a Huron-Clinton Metroparks press release:

“According to neighbors, the funnel touched down on hole nine and stayed a while,” said Jerry Cyr, park operations manager for Hudson Mills Metropark. “We are grateful that no one was injured.”

The course is closed until further notice.

The main park is open, but without electricity or running water.

Although park personnel have not been able to completely assess the destruction, preliminary reports are that several areas of the course have suffered substantial damage.  Trees and household debris are scattered throughout the course. 

The park is the site where dramatic video footage of the tornado was captured by visitors.

Park staff say maple sugar programs scheduled for Saturday, and Sunday will be held if the power to the park is restored.

Weather
7:01 pm
Thu March 15, 2012

Severe weather rips through parts of southeast Michigan

Zoe Clark / Michigan Radio

DEXTER, Mich. (AP) — A Washtenaw County official says his office is responding to reports of "lots of damage" after reports of at least one tornado striking the ground.

County director of Emergency Management Marc Breckenridge says he could not confirm any reports of injuries or deaths from the twister Thursday afternoon. He could not provide details of the damage. No injuries or deaths have been reported.

National Weather Service spotters are reporting a tornado touchdown in the Dexter and Pinckney area of Washtenaw County. Weather Service Observation Program Leader Debra Elliott says radar also "is highly suggesting" a touchdown.

Annarbor.com posted a video of the possible twister near Dexter.

Rain, hail and high winds have been moving across parts of southeastern Michigan late Thursday afternoon.

Weather
5:12 pm
Mon March 12, 2012

Tornado watch in effect for 31 counties in Michigan

The counties in Michigan under tonight's tornado watch. NWS

The National Weather Service has issued a tornado watch for 31 counties in Michigan until 11 p.m. tonight.

It includes the cities of Alma, Battle Creek, Big Rapids, Charlotte, Clare, Fremont, Grand Rapids, Greenville, Hastings, Holland, Ionia, Jackson, Jenison, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Mount Pleasant, Muskegon, Reed City, South Haven, and St. Johns.

A "watch" means conditions for the formation of tornados are possible.

The following counties are under the watch:

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Natural Disaster
3:05 pm
Tue May 31, 2011

Help for Joplin, Michigan judge organizing relief convoy to Missouri

Relief efforts are underway in Joplin, MO.
user meagan Flickr

Jodi Debbrecht, Waterford’s 51st District Court Judge, is organizing a donation drive to help the city of Joplin, Missouri.

On an Oakland County website "Judge Jodi Helps Joplin" Debbrecht writes about her personal connection to the Joplin area:

Like many in southeast Michigan, I was overcome with emotion when I saw the television images of the devastation from the tornado that touched down in Joplin, Missouri. For me, Joplin’s violent weather literally struck close to home. I grew up in Missouri, and would frequently vacation with my family in the Joplin area and many of my relatives still live in Missouri.

Main Street Oakland County’s Manager, Bob Donohue, is helping organize the donation effort. Donohue has been in touch with the Mayor of Joplin, Mike Woolston, who provided a list of things needed. The list includes everything from wheelbarrows, to pet food, to power tools.

They'll collect the items at 11 drop off centers around Oakland County.

Absent these items, Mayor Woolston said money would be the biggest help:

"We’re benefiting from tremendous generosity from people all over the country, but if people can give cash, that’s the best way to help us right now."

The Missouri Department of Public Safety has set up a website directing people to where they can donate.

And if you want to volunteer in the Joplin area, you can find more information from the United Way.

storms
2:31 pm
Mon May 30, 2011

National Weather Service confirms tornado touched down Sunday in Michigan

Utility crews from Ohio and Indiana are helping crews restore electricity in Michigan today. Consumers Energy says around 70,000 homes and businesses in Mid-Michigan are without power following severe storms in the area Sunday afternoon. That's down from 108,000 originally.

Jay Jacobs is with Consumers Energy. They’re working to restore power to tens of thousands of people near the cities of Lansing and Battle Creek.

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Weather
5:18 pm
Tue May 24, 2011

Joplin tornado surpasses death toll of Michigan's worst tornado

An F4 intensity tornado moves through Erie, Michigan on June 8, 1953. That same day there were eight tornadoes in Michigan, including Michigan's deadliest - the F5 Beecher tornado killed 116 people as it touched down north of Flint.
NOAA

UPDATE 9:51 pm: Officials in Joplin, Missouri now report at least 122 people have been confirmed dead as a result of the tornado.

 

In Joplin, Missouri, at least 117 people were killed by an F4 tornado and more than 1,000 are unaccounted for, according to the New York Times.

It's the worst tornado to hit the United States in 64 years (181 people were killed by a tornado in Woodward, Oklahoma in 1947), and it surpasses the death toll of Michigan's worst tornado which struck in 1953.

The 1953 Flint-Beecher Tornado killed 116 people in a community just north of Flint. The F5 tornado is listed as the country's 10th deadliest tornado by NOAA's Storm Prediction Center.

The tornado had winds in excess of 200 miles per hour, was 800 yards wide, and traveled on a path for 27 miles. From NOAA:

So great a number were killed by the monstrous tornado that the National Guard Armory building, along with other shelters, was turned into a temporary morgue. The scene of bodies pouring into the Armory (as an intermittent light rain poured outside) was incredibly bleak and horrifying, especially for the families and friends of the victims. At least 100 people waited outside into the rainy night before they could move inside to try and identify the bodies.

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Environment
1:26 pm
Tue May 24, 2011

Michigan's Red Cross prepared to send volunteers to Joplin

Red Cross responds to a tornado that hit Joplin in 2008. This year's tornado is the deadliest in more than 60 years.
User: Ozarks Red Cross Flickr

The Red Cross of Washtenaw County is prepared to send volunteers to Joplin, Mo. where a tornado killed at least 117 people. The Red Cross chapter in Ann Arbor is already deploying one of its 150 volunteers to the disaster area.

Ashley Cieslinski is the Emergency Services Director of Washtenaw County’s Red Cross. She says Red Cross chapters across Michigan are prepared to help with relief efforts. 

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Environment
12:49 pm
Tue May 10, 2011

Grand Rapids teams up with Red Cross to help flooding, tornado victims in the South

CEO of The American Red Cross of Greater Grand Rapids Cheryl Bremer joins Mayor George Heartwell in asking residents to support relief efforts.
Lindsey Smith Michigan Radio

The city of Grand Rapids is joining efforts to help victims of major flooding and deadly tornados in the Southern United States.

Mayor George Heartwell urged people to give whatever they’re able to afford.

 “I feel so strongly that the suffering of any people anywhere needs to be our suffering. As long as there are people in need and we have the ability and the capacity to help address that need, it’s critical for us to do that.”

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Weather
3:40 pm
Tue April 26, 2011

Much of Michigan under a tornado watch

Much of Michigan is under a tornado watch until 10 p.m.
National Weather Service

The National Weather Service has issued a "Tornado Watch" for much of Michigan until 10 p.m. tonight. A "tornado watch" means conditions are favorable for the development of tornadoes in and close to the watch area.

The Michigan Counties included in the watch are:

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An ill wind blows
3:12 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

Big midwest storm similar to storm that sank Edmund Fitzgerald

Today's storm is similar to the one that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10th, 1975.
Screen grab from the Weather Underground weatherunderground.com

The storm passing through the Midwest today has a similar look to the storm that sank the Edmund Fitzgerald on November 10th, 1975.

The 1975 storm had an extremely low pressure at its center, which generated winds similar to a category 2 hurricane. The storm in 1975 dropped to 978 millibars (mb) when it passed over James Bay in Ontario.

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Tornado warnings issued (but is anybody paying attention?)
2:40 pm
Tue October 26, 2010

Severe storm prompts the National Weather Service to issue tornado warnings

 The National Weather Service issued numerous tornado warnings this afternoon, as severe storms rolled across Michigan.  No actual tornados were confirmed.

 A Michigan State University researcher says it’s time to reconsider how severe weather warnings are issued.

 Research Bob Drost says only about 63 percent of people take weather warnings seriously.