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Update On Tuesday's Severe Weather Threat In West Michigan

SPC's Day 4 Severe Outlook places portions of Muskegon, Ottawa, Allegan, VanBuren, Berrien, Kalamazoo, Cass, and St. Joseph Counties under a 15% risk for severe weather on Tuesday May 21.

NWS Storm Prediction Center - Day 4 Extended Range Probabilistic Severe Weather Outlook


Several areas of West Michigan are still at risk of seeing severe weather Tuesday afternoon and evening as a cold front pushes through the area. The SPC continues to highlight an area of higher concern across parts of West-central and Southwest Michigan. While the northern extent of that higher concern for severe weather has been trimmed quite substantially as compared to yesterday's outlook, the fact remains that severe weather is still possible, if not likely on Tuesday.


The quality of atmospheric instability will act as the primary limiting force for this risk. This is largely due to the timing of the cold front pushing thunderstorms through the region (currently forecasted between 7:00 PM and 11:00 PM.) If the cold front can speed up, which is certainly possible, as the system is still more than 4 days out, then that could result in a more significant, more widespread threat because the quality of instability will not have been affected by evening/nighttime cooling in the same way that is currently forecasted.


All that having been said, and this is evident by the SPC's introduction of a >30% risk delineation; this is certainly a potent system and bears watching very closely. Regardless of the northward trimming of the 15% risk area in Michigan, an all-hazards threat will likely develop on Tuesday including the risk for tornadoes, damaging wind gusts, large hail, and heavy rainfall that could lead to flash flooding.


The theme of this forecast, as it often is this far out, is to remain #WeatherAware and stay tuned for future updates as the forecast continues to evolve.


Remember that a 15-30% Risk often results in a Slight Risk (level 2/5) or higher by the day of the event.

Graphic shows how the extended range outlooks often translate to a Day 1 Categorical Outlook.

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