Ask ELi: Was There a Tornado?

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Monday, July 11, 2016, 9:27 am
Alice Dreger

Above: tree damage from Friday’s storm along East Lansing’s Northern Tier Trail

The significant local damage from Friday’s storm has some people asking whether a tornado might have touched down in East Lansing. A few residents claim to have seen a funnel cloud.

To get an official answer for our readers, this morning I called the National Weather Service (NWS).

According to Evan Webb in the NWS Grand Rapids office, there is no evidence of a tornado.

Webb told me, “Those were severe thunderstorms that were producing some pretty good winds—damaging winds—up to an estimate 65 miles per hour or so.”

Asked why there was so much damage, Webb replied, “Severe thunderstorms with straight-line winds can certainly do as much damage as weak tornadoes. But there was no confirmed tornado.” He says the NWS believes the damage was caused by “straight-line winds,” meaning non-tornadic.


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