NWS damage survey reveals no tornado

GRAND RAPIDS, MI. — At least two damage survey teams from the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids were out and about West Michigan on Thursday following the severe weather that blasted through the area on Wednesday evening. Their conclusion? Straight line winds, not a tornado did the damage.

While a tornado warning was in effect for parts of Kent County (including the Grand Rapids metro area) and Ionia County, their survey concluded that damaging, straight line winds between 65 and 80 mph occurred from Grand Rapids to Ada. Isolated straight line winds of up to 100 mph likely tore the roofs from buildings in/around Belknap Hill on the northeast side of Grand Rapids. Doppler radar in velocity mode certainly exhibited rotation, but there’s never a way to tell with any degree of certainty (unless spotters see it first hand) if a tornado is actually on the ground. The thumbnail attached to this story shows the velocity data in red and green (a velocity couplet as it’s called) and how fast the winds speeds are and where. Meteorologists from the weather service stated that “there was a lack of evidence of lofted debris.”

When tornadoes tear up structures, towns, and areas, they generally pick up and throw (or loft) building materials or debris high into the air. While there was some evidence of minor twisting and turning damage on the ground, there was a significant lack of lofted debris in trees or items thrown far from their point of origin. As a result, at this time they have concluded no tornado.

From Ada to Woodbury to Lake Odessa, 70 to 80 mph estimated wind speeds occurred. Lowell reported had estimated wind speeds of 75 mph. The NWS will continue damage surveys on Friday from Grand Rapids westward this time…around U.S. 131 to Walker, and over to Marne.

More storms arrive overnight and continue through Friday morning and midday. Some may be strong, but any organized severe or widespread storms are not likely. Get the complete West Michigan forecast at www.fox17online.com/weather.

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5 comments

  • lml25

    Here’s a suggestion:AT&T,Sprint etc,should allow limited 4G during power failures to the entire area–since WiFi becomes worthless with no power.It would keep people informed about how bad things are in the area and how to manage the situation(what’s open,what roads to avoid,is the weather still dangerous).Once power goes out,people on WiFi are screwed.Yes,you can purchase some 4g per month,but I’m talking about only in an emergency situation.

  • We the people

    NWS don’t know what to even look for, and why are they in love with straight line winds for, I believe if it is straight line winds things would be allying in a straight line not scattered, we have scattered debris and twisted trees.

  • Judy Scheidt

    NWS failed to see the “lofted debris” in our yard. Now I wish I had stayed upstairs to photograph the tornado that tore through “lofting” branches far from the trees they came from!!! We were just very lucky it wasn’t 30 feet to the east to damage our home.

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