Lower Michigan remains tornado-free for the first time since complete records began

NWS started official tornado records in 1950
Posted at 6:34 PM, Sep 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-09-17 18:34:31-04

While Michigan has had several severe weather events with damaging wind and large hail this year, recorded tornadoes have been nonexistent in the Lower Peninsula.

The only two tornadoes in the state this year have happened in the Upper Peninsula. The first tornado touched down on August 9th in Peavy Pond. Peavy Pond is only a few miles from the Wisconsin border and is just north of Iron Mountain. The tornado touched down around 9:55 p.m. and was rated EF-1 with winds up to 105 mph.

The second tornado occurred on August 31st in Hyde. Hyde is just a few miles West of Escanaba and Lake Michigan. This tornado was also rated EF-1 with winds up to 95 mph. It caused damage to a storage facility when it briefly touched down. Below is a video of the tornado from Karen Lee. You can clearly see the rotation and funnel around 24 seconds.

Hyde Tornado 08.31.20

During severe weather events here in the Lower Peninsula, several storms have shown rotation and caused damage. The National Weather Service damage surveys on these storms have all concluded that the signs point to straight-line wind damage.

Michigan's yearly average for tornadoes is 16. The majority of them occur in the months of May, June, July and August. This means we could quite possibly end the year with only two tornadoes in the state and zero in the Lower Peninsula. Tornadoes have occurred in every month of the year, however, so we could still get a few before 2021.

If we end the year with only two recorded tornadoes, it would also be record low number of tornadoes in a calendar year. 2020 would be tied with 1959 when we also only had two. Both of those occurred in the Lower Peninsula.