Tornado Warnings in afternoon with heavy rain and severe storms

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WEST MICHIGAN — It’s still warm and humid out there this Saturday, but a strong cold front is on the way to the FOX 17 viewing area. Right now, this front is slowly making its way through the Upper Peninsula and Wisconsin with a few showers and thunderstorms along it.

At 1:27 p.m. Saturday, the National Weather Service issued a Tornado Warning for Allegan and Van Buren counties until 1:45 p.m.

At 1:48 p.m., the NWS issued a Tornado Warning for Allegan and Ottawa counties until 2:15 p.m.

A Tornado Warning also was issued for Allegan, Kent and Ottawa counties until 2:45 p.m.

According to the NWS, a tornado has been confirmed on the ground 3 miles south of Hamilton in northwest Allegan County. Tornadoes also have been observed near Zeeland as well as three miles southeast of Jamestown.

Here is a look at where this front is and what the overall surface map looks like as of this writing:

MW_Fronts

That area of low pressure that’s developing over Iowa will continue to lift northeastward along this front this afternoon. This low moving into the area — combined with the heating of the day — will help to organize shower and thunderstorm activity this afternoon and this evening. This is how Future Track HD sees things early this afternoon:

Future Track 1

The heaviest rain appears to fall north of Grand Rapids at this time, and that should continue to be the case through the afternoon and into the early evening hours as our model shows here.

Future_Track_Rain_Totals

In addition to heavy rain being a threat, a few thunderstorms could be severe with wind gusts approaching 60 mph and hail of 1″ in diameter. The likelihood of severe weather could be inhibited by cloud cover, however, so we’ll be watching for the amount of sunshine we see through the morning and into the early afternoon hours. Higher amounts of sunshine would destabilize the atmosphere further for a higher threat of severe thunderstorms. For now, the Storm Prediction Center (SPC) has most of the FOX 17 viewing area in a slight risk for severe thunderstorms:

SPC_Day_1

Regardless of whether or not today’s thunderstorms turn severe, it will NOT be a good day to be out on Lake Michigan. Some die-hard fishermen and boaters might try to venture out on the waters this morning, but the wind and waves will build this afternoon and evening. In fact, a small craft advisory will take effect this afternoon:

Marine_Fcst

It’s probably best to stay off the waters of Lake Michigan this afternoon and evening when considering the above forecast. Even tomorrow looks treacherous as well with strong west to northwesterly winds expected. Rip currents could develop this afternoon and into tomorrow as well, so it’s best for swimmers to stay away from Lake Michigan as well.

A few lingering showers will be possible tomorrow, then we expect dry weather to take hold for Monday, Tuesday, and most of Wednesday. Another cold front will bring our next chance of rain Wednesday night into Thursday.

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