Hurricanes of 2023 (so far)

Hurricanes of 2023 (so far)

Hopefully we’re done with tornadoes in Michigan this year. We have recorded 19 tornadoes in Michigan in 2023, compared to an average number of 16 tornadoes (top image. Photo of me near a large uprooted tree in Alpine Township after an EF1 tornado damaged dozens of homes and buildings and demolished hundreds along a path of about 9 miles on the evening of August 24). This tornado’s wind speed was estimated at 110 mph and it was 100 yards wide (the width of a football field long).

Damage to Alpine Avenue between 6 Mile Road and 7 Mile Road after the August 24 tornado

August 24 was the largest tornado day in Michigan. Statewide, we had 8 confirmed tornadoes. There were 27 tornadoes that evening/tonight from Michigan to western Pennsylvania that evening fed by very moist air. The dew point was close to 80 in Grand Rapids that day.

Another tornado occurred that evening east of Lansing near Williamston. This tornado moved directly down I-96 for a mile and a half and flipped 14 semis and a number of other vehicles. There was one death and 3 injuries. There was another storm-related death in Lansing that evening. The Williamston tornado was rated as an EF2 with winds of up to 125 mph.

That evening, there were 36 reports of wind damage in southern lower Michigan and one report of large hail. At my home in Alpine Township, I estimate we had winds of 55-60 mph, the fastest I’ve seen since May 31, 1998.

On July 12, an EF1 tornado struck Colon, Michigan. The tornado formed on the eastern shore of Palmer Lake and moved across M-86 east from St. Joseph County into Branch County.

here preliminary Total for the entire United States for 2023. We’ve had 1,358 tornadoes. Most of them were relatively small (EF0 or EF1). Sixty-five had a rating of EF2 or higher. We received 17,441 reports of high winds and 6,890 reports of severe hail (1 inch in diameter or larger).

The chart above is interesting. It’s from the Storm Prediction Center. What they do is take the number of reported tornadoes and multiply that number by 0.85. This is an educated guess. The initial tornado count will include some tornadoes that have been counted more than once — perhaps the same tornado seen from different angles — and perhaps reported from different cities.

So far this year, that number is 1,154 (black line), which is 96 fewer than the average number of tornadoes so far of 1,242. We started with an above-average number of tornadoes, and recently, the number of tornadoes has actually declined. We only had 22 tornadoes reported in the entire United States in September and 31 in October. We have only had one tornado in the United States in November. This was a small, short-lived EF0 tornado near Canyon City, Oregon on November 5th.

Nationally, we had 75 deaths from the tornado. Mississippi is the state with the most deaths (24) and Tennessee is second with 10 deaths. Michigan had only one tornado death on 24/8 with the Williamston tornado.

Of the 75 deaths caused by the tornado, 73 occurred within a designated tornado watch. There was another tornado in a severe thunderstorm. The Storm Prediction Center does a great job with watches and you should pay attention when they issue one for our area.

Of the 75 deaths, 46 occurred in mobile homes. During a tornado event, it is often better (if you have the time) to leave your mobile home and move to a more suitable building. 13 tornado deaths occurred in homes and 7 in permanent homes. There were 6 deaths among victims in vehicles. Two others were outside.

March 31 was the largest tornado day of the year. We had 766 severe reports that day. On the map above, each red dot represents a tornado, each blue dot represents a wind damage report, and each green dot represents a severe hail report. There were 163 tornadoes, 371 reports of wind damage, and 170 reports of large hail.

This is a drone shot of one of the tornadoes that day – this tornado was on the ground for 27.7 miles in Illinois and then 13.2 miles in Indiana – for a total of 40.9 miles. There were 3 deaths and 8 injuries in this hurricane, which had a maximum wind speed of 150 miles per hour.

We have not had an EF5 rated tornado this year. We had two tornadoes rated EF4 – on 3/24 in Rolling Fork MS and on 3/31 near Keota IA. Twenty-eight tornadoes were rated EF3, 121 were rated EF2, 413 were rated EF1, and 387 were rated EF0 (the rest were not rated).

The hurricanes that struck the United States this year caused damage estimated at $524 million.

There have been 63 tornadoes in Canada, including a powerful EF4 tornado in Didsbury, Alberta on July 1.

Worldwide there were 108 deaths due to the tornado (75 in the United States). Deaths by country: China 12, Indonesia 9, Myanmar 8, Turkey 3, Saudi Arabia 1.

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