“PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS TORNADO WATCH!”November 17th, 2013 at 10:23 am by Bill Steffen under Bill's Blog, News, Weather
The first Tornado Watch has been issued, and the Storm Prediction Center is calling it a rare “PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS TORNADO WATCH”. The Watch includes Chicago, where the Chicago Bears play Baltimore at 1 PM. The Bears average 62,300 per game. The Storm Prediction Center says (highlighted in red) “THIS IS A PARTICULARLY DANGEROUS SITUATION”. The Tornado Watch covers Southern Lake Michigan, all the way to the Michigan shore south of Whitehall. It’s a virtual certainty that much of Lower Michigan will come under a Tornado Watch, as early as late morning. There’s already Tornado Warnings NW of Chicago.
From SPC: “PRIMARY THREATS INCLUDE… SEVERAL INTENSE TORNADOES LIKELY SEVERAL LARGE HAIL EVENTS LIKELY WITH A FEW VERY LARGE HAIL EVENTS TO 2 INCHES IN DIAMETER POSSIBLE SEVERAL DAMAGING WIND GUSTS WITH A FEW SIGNIFICANT GUSTS TO 80 MPH POSSIBLE. ONE OR MORE BROKEN BANDS OF SUPERCELLS ARE EXPECTED TO DEVELOP THIS MORNING AND RAPIDLY SPREAD EAST/NORTHEAST ACROSS THE WATCH AREA TODAY. GIVEN THE COMBINATION OF MODERATE INSTABILITY AND VERY STRONG VERTICAL SHEAR…CONDITIONS WILL BE FAVORABLE FOR LONG TRACKED…SIGNIFICANT TORNADOES. LARGE HAIL AND CORRIDORS OF WIND DAMAGE WILL ALSO BE LIKELY.”
Now is the time to make a plan. Where will you be? If your home or wherever you are is not a safe location, you have time to get to a safe location. If you’re really scared or worried about this storm, spend the afternoon in the underground parking garage downtown. Remember, you’re safest in a tornado below ground level. ALso, stay away from windows, especially on the south and west side of the building. You are 10,000 times more likely to see wind damage from either a thunderstorm or from the general circulation around this strong low pressure center, than to have a significant tornado come down your street. Where will your vehicle be? Hopefully, not under a tree. Put cars in a garage is possible. Keep the garage door closed. Pick up anything that can blow around outside (garbage cans, toys, etc.). There will likely be power outages, so keep a flashlight handy. You can even “dress for a tornado”. People in Oklahoma put on bicycle helmets, where boots or strong shoes and sturdy jeans. These storms will be moving at 50-60 mph and they’ll come up on you quickly, moving from SW to NE.
The Storm Prediction Center has issued only two high risk areas during November in the last 15 years. One day had 49 tornadoes and the other had 64 tornadoes and three dozen fatalities. Find a safe place to be this afternoon and evening.
Many useful links in the threads below. Here’s a couple: Grand Rapids radar, Chicago radar, Severe Reports in SW Michigan, Severe Reports in NE Illinois. Here’s the latest Grand Rapids National Weather Service Discussion (“IT LOOKS LIKE WE/RE GOING TO SEE A SIGNIFICANT WIND EVENT. A HIGH WIND WARNING IS IN EFFECT FOR ALL OF SOUTHWEST LOWER MICHIGAN FROM 4 PM THIS AFTERNOON THROUGH 4 AM MONDAY.” We could see general gusts of wind to 60 mph. Here’s the Consumers Energy Outage Map. They have crews ready, but may not send their workers out to repair power outages if weather conditions are not within safety guidelines.
A final note…TV is first, so I may not be on the blog as this event unfolds. Come to the blog for the links in this thread and below and watch us on WOOD-TV for continuous coverage of this dangerous weather event.