The Grand Rapids National Weather Service conducted a damage survey and confirms that an EF-1 tornado hit southern parts of the Grand Rapids metro Sunday evening. This is the first confirmed tornado in the county since an EF-0 tornado struck Caledonia in 2006. The last EF-1 tornado was on May 21, 2001. This tornado touched down just east of the Beltline and north of 3 mile road in Grand Rapids.
The Grand Rapids National Weather Service posted this description of the event. “During Sunday night's thunderstorms, an EF-1 tornado developed rapidly near 64th Street and Burlingame Avenue in Byron Center and tracked northeast for 6.25 miles through Wyoming and Kentwood. The tornado, on the ground for about 10 minutes, produced significant damage with estimated wind speeds up to 100-110 mph. Numerous trees, structures, and power lines were downed or damaged along a damage path 300-400 yards wide across southern Kent County. There were six injuries and no fatalities.”
Click this link http://www.crh.noaa.gov/images/grr/Evan/animation.gif for a radar animation of the storms.
Click this link http://www.crh.noaa.gov/images/grr/Evan/radar.gif for a two-pane animation showing radar reflectivity on the left and radar velocity data on the right. In the reflectivity data, in the next-to-last frame, an area of higher reflectivity appears over Kentwood, likely indicative of lofted debris. In the velocity data, bright greens/blues represent the area of strongest winds associated with the southern Kent County storm.
Thousands of people lost power as the wind brought down tress and damaged power lines. Heavy rain with reports of 6-8 inches caused flooding across parts of West Michigan.
The Grand Rapids National Weather Service also confirmed a second, weaker EF-0 tornado in Ionia County. This tornado happened just after midnight on Monday, July 7 and produced damage to a home and several farm buildings along with damage to trees and crops.
See the attached slideshow for more on the tornadoes, power outages and flooding rain.
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