Significant Damage in Kent County

July 6th, 2014 at 1:54 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

  mcd1290 1 am Mesoscale Discussion from SPC: “GRAND RAPIDS AND MILWAUKEE INDICATE 0-1 KM SRH VALUES GREATER THAN 250 M2/S2 WHICH ALSO INDICATE A POTENTIAL FOR A STRONG DOWNBURST OR AN ISOLATED TORNADO WITH STRONGER BETTER ORGANIZED CELLS.”   Local Storm Report by NWS GRR: 2 NNW Cutlerville [Kent Co, MI] trained spotter reports TSTM WND DMG at 10:23 PM EDT — 2 buildings completely destroyed. at least 10 trees uprooted and on buildings and blocking the road…no power in the area From Jeremy at ReportIt – :  “when the storm it and it torn the building apart the roof is gone, our office is gone part of the roof caved in here are a few pictures of where i was when the storm came thru it was at 54th and clay”.  From Kent County Emergency Management:  Considerable damage in the 52nd & Eastern.  Stay out of that area.  There has been either a tornado or a significant swath of serious wind damage.   It starts around 60th west of Clyde Park.  Wyoming around 54th St. and Clyde Park…also 56th at Division, campers tipped over at Midwest RV – many trees and wires down.  Significant building damage.  Damage from 60th up past 44th St. – Wyoming, Kentwood, S.Side of G.R.   23,606 without power in Kent County – nearly 9% of the county – 747 in Motcalm Co., 223 in Ottawa Co. and 218 in Ionia Co.  Kyle said radar showed 90 mph just above ground level over Wyoming with that storm.  Anyone with more info., leave a comment.  Flash Flood WARNING for Kent, Newaygo, Montcalm, Ionia and Gratiot Co.  2.35″ rain at Alma, 1.53″ at the Ford Airport in G.R.     Here’s G.R. radar.     As you can see, the Slight Risk Area has been expanded to now include much of the state of Michigan.   SPC says: “THE SLIGHT RISK AREA HAS BEEN EXPANDED NWD/EWD ACROSS NRN WI INTO UPPER MI AND EWD INTO PARTS OF LOWER MI CONSISTENT WITH MESOSCALE AND MOST CONVECTION-ALLOWING MODEL GUIDANCE. LARGE HAIL AND DAMAGING WIND GUSTS ARE EXPECTED TO BE THE PRIMARY SEVERE HAZARDS BUT AN ISOLATED TORNADO OR TWO MAY ALSO OCCUR.”   Here’s current severe watches, mesoscale discussions and today’s severe reports.  Here’s Grand Rapids radar, Great Lakes Regional radar and the latest G.R. National Weather Service forecast discussion.   The surface weather map shows low 70s dewpoints (number in lower left of each station plot).  HRRR model.  We’re be tracking the storms here on the blog and on 24-Hour News 8.  The most likely time for storms for most of us will be after sunset.

The morning run of the European model gives G.R. 0.45″ of rain with a t-storm this tonight, 0.23″ of rain on Tues. and another 0.04″ on Weds.  Tornado in Outlook, Saskatchewan (2 pics.).  Baseball-sized hail near Vang, ND…Phoenix AZ received 0.01″ of rain Saturday, their first measurable rainfall since March 2…first they had a 4.6 magnitude e-quake, now this!  71 mph wind gust Sat. morning at Machias Seal Island, Maine from Tropical Storm Arthur.   Typhoon Neoguri now a “super-typhoon” – heading toward Okinawa, Nagasaki and S. Japan.  Here’s a full earth satellite view of Super-Typhoon Neoguri.  Saturday July 5 was hottest day of year for when averaged over Lower 48 – almost 85°F.  At 3 pm Vero Beach, FL is currently cooler (74 F) than Fairbanks, AK.   Funnel cloud  over Egmont Key, at the mouth of Tampa Bay.  The Coke Zero 400 becomes the Coke Zero 352 – a couple of significant crashes that will make Sports Overtime tonight after on 11 pm news.  Djokovic wins Wimbleton after a long match with Federer.  Neither G.R. or NYC reached 90° during June.

494 Responses to “Significant Damage in Kent County”

  1. R.C. says:

    I got a very strong cuplet on that storm in Ionia, circulation just WSW of Pewamo. Got a TVS with a strong tornado index. Surprised no tornado warning on it.

  2. I am very dissapointed on the NWS. Issue a TORNADO WARNING!!!! Jeez whats the worse there isnt one and everything is ok! Id quite with the tornado possible tags there junk!

    1. Julie Claire says:

      I agree Kyle. Whats up with this ?

    2. Cort S. says:

      There’s broad rotation on radar, but not a strong gate-to-gate velocity couplet that would be consistent with a tornado. If you want tornado warnings for these, you’ll have to be content with an 80% false alarm rate and stop complaining about how the NWS cries wolf with its tornado warnings. People also need to stop treating severe thunderstorm warnings like they are nothing. Do you see how there is no simple solution to this problem?

      1. There is history with this storm. I am not trying to complain I am using common sense!

        1. R.C. says:

          Cort’s right. These brief intense spin-ups are hard to pick up and discern on radar.

        2. Cort S. says:

          First, there has been no confirmed tornado with the storm in Kent county. You think someone out there would have seen it if it. Sure, it’s possible that there may have been an spin-up embedded in the (multiple?) microbursts. The storm is an absolute chaotic mess and there is no semblance of any organized rotational feature lingering for more than a few radar scans. If anything, I see the straight-line winds on radar velocity jutting out from the southern end of the storm in addition to whatever rotation may loosely organize itself to the north of those winds. The rotation on radar earlier has diminished quite substantially now, btw. Looks a lot like bursts of straight-line winds coming out of that storm.

      2. John says:

        It’s too bad that people do not heed severe thunderstorm warnings, but it’s reality. I know that people in my area will usually not be on alert for a storm unless there is a tornado watch/warning, and even then will probably not head for shelter unless the tornado sirens go off. Which is frightening when you consider the fact the sirens can fail in a power outage (as they did in last week’s storms).

        1. Cort S. says:

          That’s another problem, is tornado sirens. People rely on them too much. They are not meant to be heard indoors. They are controlled by local jurisdictions and there is no consistency of message from one community to the next.

          Overhauling the watch/warning system is another huge debate. People pay attention to tornado warnings because tornadoes are sexy, but they ignore severe thunderstorm warnings for 100-mph derechos. Both things are nothing more than extremely strong winds, and both things are dangerous. Should we instead issue “dangerous weather warnings”?

        2. John says:

          Your “dangerous weather warnings” point is pretty interesting. My brother (another weather freak) lived in England for a job several years back and he has mentioned to me that rather threat-specific warnings, their weather service issued more “level-based” warnings, with the higher levels indicating more dangerous weather.
          As for tornado sirens, I agree. I live in a very small town, and I imagine almost everyone can hear sirens inside their houses (it’s loud enough to wake me up at night), but in larger cities and more spread out areas they are definitely meant for outdoor warning only.

        3. Tiffany says:

          Either way the warning still didn’t come fast enough even if I were to heade the thunderstorm warning.
          I got the alert of the warning and the next thing I know I had no power

        4. mja says:

          A warning would have been nice. If there had been one, I would have heeded it. I was diligently checking the blog and the radar, but no warning was issued for Kent County until after the storm that produced the damage had already passed me in Wyoming.

        5. Marti B. (36th/Kalamazoo SE) says:

          The radar that shows on channels 41.2, 15.2 and 8.3 (I don’t have cable, still have the converter box) – is narrated by whoever – not sure if it’s a computer voice or what, but they always tell people to take cover during severe storm warnings, even when there is not a tornado warning. Also if possible, invest in a weather radio – I have one and I really appreciate it.

          HUGE thank you to Bill Steffen and team with the great storm reporting and warning people. Kind of funny – Laura leaves Michigan for Colorado and we get a doozy of a storm right after she leaves….

  3. Pewamo, Muir, Fowler and St. Johns take cover just to be safe!!!

  4. Tim (Walker) says:

    Why are they evacuating people from Kentwood.

    1. SS (Pwell Area) says:

      Sounds like a gas leak…

      1. mja says:

        There was a leak in the area of 54th and Clyde Park.

  5. Tim says:


  6. The wind really picked up here in Muskegon, I see distant lightning. I think the atmosphere is there for tornadoes.

  7. Ok Cort you are right about there hard to pick out, but why don’t they do it to be safe?

    1. Cort S. says:

      What makes an EF-0-1 tornado spin-up more dangerous than 60-90 mph straight-line winds? Are people unsafe if they heed a severe thunderstorm warning?

      1. mike says:

        You know people ignore thunderstorm warnings, but tornado warnings get attention.

      2. R.C. says:

        These types of radar data events drive meteorologists crazy because the data they see is so thin. Can’t blame them for not calling what happened in Kentwood.

        1. mike says:

          Its there job. They go to school for it. They get paid well for it. You blow your job, you get the wrath.

        2. Cort S. says:

          We deal with lack of complete data, unknown variables, uncertainty, and margins of error CONSTANTLY. People hire meteorologists outside of meteorology because we are so used to dealing with incomplete datasets and uncertainty.

    2. Jack says:

      Damned if They Do, Damned if They Don’t !!! Stay CUEDD.. ;-)

      1. Thank you Cort for your kind response. I’m no exper so no reason to be rude to me

        1. Cort S. says:

          I’m happy you have a passion for weather and thunderstorms. Keep it up and keep learning new things. Lord knows Bill and I learn something new every day. Keep asking those questions.

        2. Thanks Cort. I will defiantly learn from this storm. I appreciate your help on here

  8. EggsRGood says:

    People pay 1000x more attention to tornado watches than they do thunderstorm warnings. Sorry but that is just reality to the non weather nerds of the world.

    1. Cort S. says:

      Severe thunderstorms can and do produce tornado-like wind speeds OR tornadic spin-ups with little to no warning. People pay attention to tornado warnings because they are sexy, but with current technology, we: (1) cry wolf too much AND (2) miss a few actual tornadoes. Maybe we should scrap the severe thunderstorm vs. tornado warning system and start from scratch.

      1. Lisa says:

        If you guys say, “TORNADO WARNING” and there isn’t a tornado, people complain about that too! So annoying.

  9. Jessie says:

    I was working at the Gaines twp Meijer tonight….crazy lightning and thunder. It had died down when the power suddenly blew out…store was plunged into pitch darkness until the generator kicked on. That was pretty sweet. Funny that there was no loud boom when it went out…it had become eerily quiet. I’m glad I have power here at home just over the Barry county line. Heading home on Hanna Lake I saw that the power was out up until the 92nd st intersection, which was lit.

    So how did this one survive the famed GR bubble?

  10. R.C. says:

    Good grief, got two TVS’s on storms near Carson City and Fowler. That one near Carson City has a nice couplet on it.

    1. Cort S. says:

      That one NW of Carson City looked interesting. Man, Michigan-style tornadoes a giant cluster of annoying. Warning for tornadoes in the Plains is a cakewalk compared to this nonsense.

      1. R.C. says:

        LOL Cort!! Yup! At least they are predictable out there as I have chased quite a few times out there. Michigan is a tornado jack-in-the-box

  11. mja says:

    Just went out to take my dogs out for a potty break between storms. Still extremely humid, warm and windy here in Wyoming. Gusty winds whipping the large oak trees around.

  12. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

    This is a good example of why everyone should always assume it could happen , even when it usually does not as it only takes one to verify which can really ruin ones day. I hope everyone stays safe …. Storms are anything but predictable and I think we all get complacent , I know I have / do …!

  13. hurricane hunter says:

    By the looks of things it looks like tornado damage, not straight line winds. Can’t wait til daylight.

  14. Ian - jenison says:

    Went to check out the damage, telephone poles and signs bent at 56th n DIvision, looked like some trees were stripped of their leaves.

    1. Ian - jenison says:

      Might I add every other street was blocked either due to lines and trees, branches everywhere. It was like a line went through. Damage in spots between 60th n 44th and Divison and kZoo

  15. Bryan says:

    Is this a legitimate question, why are the WOOD-TV guys saying the danger is over when the SPC has a current MD on the continuing threat with a possible watch issuance as of 12:11 EDT?

  16. Vincent(N.E.Kent CO) says:

    Any damage reports out of Lions/Muir? I texted my Bud to hit the basement at 12:22 and the text was not delivered,and he has not answered back. Have thunder and lightning here again. I have an even 2″ of rain in my gauge so far.

  17. Mike Geukes says:

    Last tornado that happen in Kent County (caledonia area)was back in 2006.
    09-23-2006: 1645 EST: Deaths 00: Injuries 00: EF-0: Kent

    1. kentwoodchicken says:

      The chicken remembers that one because I was in it! It was directly across from the Big Ol’ Fish restaurant-scary! Will never forget golf carts being tossed around!

  18. Tim (Walker) says:

    Anyone else see storm rotating heading towards great or am I seeing things

    1. R.C. says:

      Hard to tell but it has a ragged inflow notch on it.

  19. Cort S. says:

    Having looked at a very high-resolution radar loop of the Kentwood storm (better than what is available on most websites), yes, a tornado spin-up does seem to be plausible.

    1. R.C. says:

      You got a link?

  20. Shae says:

    Another TVS on the Wundermap, heading straight for Kentwood again. This almost seems like a script from a movie, with everything that has already happened tonight.

    1. Tiffany says:

      What’s TVS?

      1. tornado vortex signature

      2. Tiffany says:

        I hope that’s not the case we don’t need any more damage over here!

    2. Vincent(N.E.Kent CO) says:

      I am seeing alot of lightning off to my SW towards your way. My last rain put me over the 2″ mark. I think the storms are re building again over Kent CO now.

      1. Tiffany says:

        I’m at 60th and eastern have been up all night keeping an eye thanks to the last storm

  21. Tim (Walker) says:

    Storm just blew up over grand rapids. Take shelter. Just had very strong winds in walker.

  22. Anita says:

    can anyone tell me how 68th and Kalamazoo Ave area is please? My kids are with their dad this week in that area. I am very worried!!!

    1. Tiffany says:

      I didn’t see anything significant over there most was around division and te 54th area

  23. DarrenSVRstm ( Cedar S ) says:

    Sure sounds like there was a tornado from reading through the comments , and I would assume this will be ” confirmed ” by the early morning hours if not before. I would be surprised if it were straight line winds but either way it looks to have caused a fair amount of damage .

  24. Sandy (Hudsonville) says:

    It is raining hard, winds gusty again. Lightning too.

  25. Marti B. (36th/Kalamazoo SE) says:

    Some of that damage is only a few blocks south from where I live! I had my living room window open (2nd floor apartment of a 2 story building) and my blinds appeared to suddenly be being sucked out the window! The lights in our hallway were blinking off and on, the alarms were going off (I live in a senior citizen retirement apartment complex that runs off the end of Giddings SE). I know where that building is that got damage done to its roof on Langley street. I know where 44th/Eastern street is – so close to me. I heard that a huge tree fell in the area of Grand River Prep charter high school – hopefully the school didn’t have any damage.

    I love a good thunderstorm, but NOT all this damage! All 45 of us still have power here.

  26. Another tv station has the pictures of the tornado in question.

    1. Tim (Walker) says:

      Do you have a link?

        1. I apologize Bill if I am not allowed to link to another station.

        2. Bill Steffen says:

          That’s OK – everyone should check out the pics. – wish it was video…you can’t tell rotation from still pics.

    2. Bill Steffen says:

      I’ve seen the pics. that FOX has – obviously, you can’t see rotation on still pictures. One brighter picture looks like a wall cloud with lightning behind it. I certainly wouldn’t confirm a tornado by looking at those pics.

      1. R.C. says:

        Bill, the one with the blue flash (power flash from a ripped apart power line or transformer explosion) under what looks to be a funnel right after the one you cite above is the interesting one. That would possibly indicate a funnel in contact with the ground…or..lightning hitting a transformer. Looks like a clear funnel in that one with the blue flash though.

        1. Bill Steffen says:

          You’re right, R.C. – that certainly could be a funnel with the wind causing the blue flash…can’t tell in a still pic. If it is a funnel, it’s awfully ragged.

      2. R.C. says:

        Agreed Bill. I have seen some ragged looking tornadoes before. I cannot deny that at minimum, that was a very impressive looking lowering on that wall cloud.

  27. Jack says:

    Brief HEAVY RAIN here N.E. Gr . Again ….. few Big Wind Gusts as Well. Heard Trees Cracakling in My Woods 2….stay CUEDDD… Nice nite to Sit out on My COVERED Back Porch… ;-)

  28. kentwoodchicken says:

    Storming like a wet hen again in Kentwood!

    1. Vincent(N.E.Kent CO) says:

      If u sprayed down yer feathers with Rain X you would not be a washed down hen with wet feathers. No one ever listens to me. Lots of lightning now to my south. Still hear thunder also.

      1. kentwoodchicken says:

        But I do have a NASA endorsed glowing beak hail guard.

        1. Vincent(N.E.Kent CO) says:

          You cluck me up. Hearing good thunder now to my south. Looks like maybe more showers are wanting to form west and NW of us over the lake.

  29. Going to be getting back out at 5am to get some pictures and get a better look. I can even ride my bike to the damage since I am only about 2 miles away. I do have power lines down 1 mile north of my house right now but I do have power. Should be pretty interesting once daylight comes

  30. tinainvbcounty says:

    Looks like a few more storms are developing ahead of that second line just hitting the lake to the south now.

  31. Mike Geukes says:

    Last EF-1 tornado in Kent County
    05-21-2001: 1429 EST: Deaths 00: Injuries 00: EF-1: Kent

  32. Hey Bill if you had to make just even a guess, what do you think it was? I am going to have to side with a lower end tornado right now. Daylight should feature a better picture.

    1. Bill Steffen says:

      I couldn’t say…either a small tornado or a very significant downburst. The radar image could have been either. Kyle had 90 mph winds about down to the surface.

      1. Ohh wow yeah I guess it could go either way. Should be interesting what they determine it is after the survey.

      2. Jack says:

        See what Happens … When you take a Day Off BILL. LOL… Stay cueDD…U dahh BEST !!,

      3. I think it’s a tornado but I could be wrong.

  33. Mr. Negative says:

    Kentwood is a mess at the moment (specifically, West of Kalamazoo at 44th street).

    Side streets running both North and South from 44th are blocked by trees, police cruisers, emergency tape etc…someones trampoline was moved off of 44th street West bound traffic lanes. One street off 44th to the South has very heavy police presence…hoping for the best.

    1. Vincent(N.E.Kent CO) says:

      You are not sounding to positive MR.Negative.

  34. Shae says:

    For what its worth, a small cell just popped up between Cedar Springs and Greenville, and by the time it got to me, (in Greenville), it prompted a TVS on Wundermap. I guess we might not be out of the woods yet folks…

    1. Vincent(N.E.Kent CO) says:

      It could be the night of all storms this year Shae. They keep popping up. The only lightning i see as of now is to my S/SW. It is still a warm muggy night,so i would’nt be surprised by anything. I texed my Niece in Flint about our storms as she is under a warning now.

  35. Dan (Byron Center) says:

    90 mph winds clocked at 52 nd and Division or there abouts. Tornado or straight line winds sure did their damage! I hope everybody is ok. That is the main thing. Glad first responders got every out of the area where the gas leak was. WOW. We received very heavy rain hence, flash flood information. Be safe everybody! I cannot figure out why some on here want severe weather. Garden variety thunderstorms are kind of neat to watch, not severe and certainly not tornados.

    1. I agree, Dan. Severe weather is expensive, harms living thing. Even though humans are the only score some people keep track of, there were many living things that died in these storms. The straight line winds that ripped through my area last week destroyed many trees where quite a few types of critters live. I found bird nests all over the yard and some dead birds.

  36. noone can tell me it wasn’t a tornado that came thru kentwood. we just turned the corner from 54th street onto division south and it hit. winds, construction barrels flying, insulation from businesses, tree branches, and you could see the rotation. power lines came down in the water we were driving in so we stopped and called for emergency helped. sparks flying everywhere. power polls bent. signs torn off places. it looked like a war zone. it was over in just minutes. the stress caused my daughter to go into panic attacks and some contactions at 34 weeks pregnant. i’ve never seen anything like it in my 45 years and hope and pray i never do again. i’m still shaking and scared to go to sleep. it took us forever with all the detours in this neighborhood to get to our house. which i guess we were fortunate and our power is back on already. no sirens ever sounded. by the grace of god we are all okay.

  37. Swatz_Zoo(Cedar Springs) says:

    Nothing happened up just rain showers and distant lightning, I hope everyone is ok and feel for those involved. I love storms just not the devastation it brings.

  38. Alle says:

    Why didn’t Wood TV 8 break for weather updates during their regular scheduled programs till after the storms had past?

  39. Teresa says:

    I was wondering if the Dunham Apartments are alright off Clyde Park and 36th street? My parents and brother live over there and I can’t get a hold of them. Haven’t been able to get a hold of them since before the storm hit.

    1. Teresa says:

      Sorry it was the Dunbar Apartments not the Dunham Apartments.

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