WEST MICHIGAN – As we reported in an earlier post the Storm Prediction Center has placed southern lower Michigan in a “high” risk for severe weather development this evening. That threat is mainly across Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph, and southwest Branch Counties.
There have only been two other times in the past 12 years that West Michigan has been placed in a “high” risk category for storms. Once was October 26, 2010, and again in 2001 on October 24…so it is indeed rare!
Van Buren, Kalamazoo, and southwest Calhoun Counties remain in a “moderate” risk for severe weather development this evening, while areas up to and just north of I-96 are in a “slight” risk. The primary threats this evening are strong, damaging, straight line winds and heavy rain. It goes without saying that lightning will also be a factor.
To be clear, the further south of Grand Rapids you go, the bigger the severe weather threat. Even a few isolated tornadoes cannot be ruled out along/south of the I-94 corridor. Storms are just now beginning to form in Wisconsin, Iowa, and Illinois and these will certainly impact the area this evening and part of the early overnight hours. Click here for FOX 17 radar. Click here for the SPC outlook.
We should also note that many communities can operate their tornado sirens independently from the county. That said, it’s possible that tornado sirens may sound if damaging winds with these storms reach a certain criteria, like say 70 mph or greater. So while there may not be a tornado, straight line wind damage can easily equal an EF0 or EF1 tornado. Make sure to stay tuned to FOX 17 through the evening as we will interrupt programming to keep you safe. We’ll have a full and complete recap on FOX 17 News at ten.