June 10, 2020

Significant Damaging Winds Are Possible Across Eastern Michigan On Wednesday


An intense squall line could sweep through the eastern Great Lakes on Wednesday afternoon, bringing a risk for significant damaging winds, tornadoes, and some reports of large hail.

The Storm Prediction Center (SPC) issued a moderate risk for severe weather—a four out of five on the scale used to measure the severe threat—across eastern Michigan and adjacent portions of Indiana and Ohio. An enhanced risk—a three out of five—radiates out from there to include Cincinnati and Cleveland. The greatest risk with these storms will be widespread damaging wind gusts, with gusts of 70+ MPH possible in the strongest storms.
Radar at 12:26 PM CDT on June 10, 2020. Source: WSV3
We're already seeing strong to severe thunderstorms pop up in Indiana as of this post's publication. These storms will likely evolve into a squall line that rolls through northwest Ohio and southeastern Michigan through rush hour this evening. It's this squall line that will pack the greatest risk for damaging winds, some of which could be in excess of 70 MPH. It's not uncommon to see tornadoes along the leading edge of a squall line.


If you live in areas at risk for storms today, stay aware of watches and warnings and give yourself plenty of time to seek shelter if a storm rolls up on your location. I've found the most useful reminder in a situation like this is to avoid rooms in your home that have large trees or limbs that could fall into the building. We always tell people to avoid windows and stay inside, but it's easy to overlook the potential for falling trees and tree limbs.

It's unusual to see such a high risk for severe weather in this part of the country. According to the Iowa Environmental Mesonet's records, the last time Detroit found itself under a moderate risk in a SPC forecast was on November 17, 2013. 

It's worth noting that the severe threat will also include much of southern Ontario. It's pretty easy to extrapolate the SPC forecast over the border, bringing a risk for significant wind gusts, tornadoes, and large hail to southwestern Ontario, including Windsor, Sarnia, and London. The threat is lower in the Greater Toronto Area.

If you're wondering...SPC forecasts don't stretch beyond the international border for sovereignty reasons. Among other reasons, it could create an international incident if the U.S. government predicts a dire threat for storms on foreign soil if forecasters in that country disagree with their American counterparts.


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I graduated from the University of South Alabama in 2014 with a degree in political science and a minor in meteorology. I ran Gawker's The Vane for two years and I've contributed to Mental Floss, Forbes, Popular Science, and the Washington Post's Capital Weather Gang. I also teamed up with Outdoor Life to write a book called The Extreme Weather Survival Manual, which came out in October 2015.

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