The pieces of the severe weather puzzle are coming clearer into sight. I think I have it figured out how severe weather may evolve across Michigan tonight.
The first thing you should notice is I use the word “tonight.” This is an after 6 p.m. severe weather outbreak.
There will be three clumps of thunderstorms to move across Lower Michigan.
The first clump will be round, supercell thunderstorms traveling along the Michigan/Indiana/Ohio border and maybe as far north as the second tier of counties in far southern Michigan. This group of storms will happen in an environment that has what we call “directional wind shear.” The wind is going to back to blowing from the southeast just ahead of the storms. The southeast wind at the surface allows the thunderstorms to rotate, stay self-sustaining and possibly produce large hail and an isolated tornado.
Here’s the radar forecast just for that group of storms.
So I’d look for a possible burst of severe storms around 9 p.m. near Kalamazoo, 10 p.m. near Coldwater, 11 p.m. near Ann Arbor and midnight in the Detroit area.
The second round of severe thunderstorms will blow across the southern half of Lower Michigan in the form of a line of thunderstorms. A line of storms typically makes more straight-line wind gusts. This line of storms is expected from midnight to 6 a.m., which could lessen the severe threat. The upper-level wind flow along that line of storms could still produce widespread 60 mph wind gusts as the leading edge of the storms pass through your area.
Here is the radar forecast for that second line of storms.
This second line of storms could come through the Grand Rapids area between midnight and 2 a.m., although things point toward the line of storms being most ferocious south of Grand Rapids. The line then should expand northward and could come through Lansing, Jackson, Saginaw, Bay City, Midland, Flint, the Thumb and again Ann Arbor and Detroit.
Finally I’m seeing the possibility of a quick burst of potent to severe storms developing across northern Lower Michigan around sunrise. These would be interesting storms, in that they look like they could again go back to the supercell shape. These storms could produce large hail, quick damaging winds, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a quick tornado formed.
So it is an evening or overnight storm event, depending on where you live. If the weather becomes extraordinarily severe, we will broadcast live on the MLive Facebook page. Like the Facebook page now and allow notifications. You’ll be notified when we start a live broadcast.
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