Parts of West Michigan get some much needed rain

WEST MICHIGAN — Parts of West Michigan picked up some much needed rain and thunderstorm activity Thursday evening in to Friday morning. Some areas were unfortunately missed and continue a dry, almost drought situation, but others saw almost three inches of rain in a short amount of time.

A waterspout (tornado over water) was reported over Lake Michigan…closer to the Wisconsin side. It was spawned by a supercell thunderstorm…a thunderstorm with a rotating updraft! By the time the cell reached Muskegon, most of the rotation was gone but the cell generated a wind gust of 55 mph.

Northern Muskegon County saw the heaviest rain with almost three inches falling from training thunderstorms…storms rolling across the same location over and over. There were also many reports of small size hail and lesser wind gusts…all below the severe levels of criteria.

In order for a severe thunderstorm warning to be issued by the National Weather Service, a storm must be capable of producing 58 mph wind gusts or greater, and/or one inch size hail or larger. These storms were below that level. That said…they were still strong with very heavy rain and lightning.

Take a look at the image below. It’s radar estimated rainfall. The areas in yellow across northern Muskegon County, northern Ottawa County, and parts of northern Kent County equal about three inches…certainly a good, much needed soaking. We actually had reports of 8 to 10 inches of water over the road in Muskegon County on Robbins Road around U.S. 31.

The next image below is compliments of Shawn Conrad. He snapped the waterspout photo over Lake Michigan. Look closely…you can clearly see the funnel along with a low-hanging wall cloud.

Another image below taken by local photographer Jeremy Church in Muskegon shows that same cell arriving on the lakeshore with dark clouds, rain, thunderstorms, and a shelf cloud across the sky.

And finally there was a lightning photo taken in Georgetown Township captured by Nathan Huene (below).

There were also indications from Consumer’s Energy via their outage map that about a thousand customers or less were without power in a few isolated locations. Any locations that didn’t pick up rain from this event will have quite a while to wait. Our next rain chance (at this time) doesn’t arrive until well in to next week.

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