Tornado Rips through Michigan; Early US Severe Convective Storm Season Continues


On Thursday, March 15 at least three tornado touchdowns in Michigan contributed to the destruction of 13 homes and damage to more than 100 homes, causing less than $100 million in insured losses. This event represents an early start for tornadoes in the upper Midwest, compared to a typical start to the tornado season in May. With 267 measured tornado touchdowns year-to-date, the 2012 Severe Convective Storm Season is running well ahead of the historic 50th percentile of 97 touchdowns.

SPC Storm Reports - March 16, 2012

SPC Storm Reports - March 16, 2012
Source: NOAA's National Weather Service

The most damaging tornado touchdown was an estimated EF3 tornado (maximum wind speeds of 135 to 140 mph) in Washtenaw County, Michigan, about 10 miles northwest of Ann Arbor. An EF2 tornado (estimated winds of 125 mph) was reported in Lapeer County, and an EF0 (winds estimated at 85 mph) tornado was reported in Monroe County.

The 2012 Severe Convective Storm Season continues with a very active winter season. The NOAA severe thunderstorm watch issued before this event identified the contributing weather patterns: “Anomalously warm and moist low level air mass with seasonably cool mid level temperatures are resulting in steep lapse rates and strong instability.”

EQECAT will continue to monitor and provide updates as necessary.

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