Viewer video of Kentwood EF-1 tornado

Posted at 11:14 AM, Jul 12, 2014
and last updated 2014-07-12 14:51:54-04

KENTWOOD, Mich. — A FOX 17 viewer sent in video they took of what they say is the EF-1 tornado that hit the Kentwood and Wyoming areas last Sunday night.

The video, said to be shot near 44th Street and Division Ave. in Kentwood shows a distinct funnel shaped cloud and several flashes of light, which FOX 17 meteorologist Kelly Smith said could be both lightning and what are called ‘power flashes.’

“When it snaps the wires if causes power flashes which is one of the tell tale signs we look for, especially in nocturnal thunderstorms and tornadoes,” Smith said. “When you see those power flashes it really is an indication it’s a tornado, it’s on the ground, and it’s causing damage.”

Smith said the flashes of light also help to illuminate the funnel cloud, something that’s difficult to identify when dealing with storms at night like this one.

“One of the things we look for as meteorologists to tell the difference between a low level cloud or a tornado is definitely rotation,” she said. ” With this video it was really amazing because the flashes of light were really able to illuminate the whole funnel and you could actually see when you slowed down and stopped the video not only the rotation but the very district condensation funnel.”

According to the National Weather Service, the EF-1 tornado was only on the ground for about 10 minutes and traveled about 6 miles after touching down west of U.S. 131 near the M-6 interchange before dissipating near 28th Street and Breton.