A good majority of the summer through the first few days of August has been cool, and quite quiet with a lack of severe weather. Rainfall has ranged from a little below normal in some locations, to a little above normal in other locations across Central and Southern Lower Michigan. This past weekend, the weekend from Friday night August 7th, through early morning Monday August 10th, saw significantly warmer temperatures, much more humid conditions, and quite a bit more severe weather and rainfall compared to the remainder of the summer. Here is a summary of what occurred during this period of active weather.
The heat and humidity that has been quite impressive across locations in the southern plains states and down across Texas this summer finally made a move toward the Great Lakes late last week as a system took shape across the Western U.S.. Out ahead of the arrival of the heat and humidity, plenty of cloud cover and a few showers arrived during the late afternoon and evening hours on Friday, August 7th. These showers were relatively light and produced only a few hundredths of an inch of rainfall.
Weather map at 8 pm EDT Friday evening
Later Friday night and during the first half of the day on Saturday a good deal of shower and thunderstorm acitivity occurred across the area. This occurred as a strong warm front at the leading edge of the heat and humidity surged to the northeast. Below is an image of the amount of rainfall that occurred during the Friday night and Saturday time frame. 1 to locally 3 inches of rain fell on the area during this time period. No severe weather occurred across the area.
Friday night and Saturday Rainfall. Click on the image to enlarge.
For a more detailed look at this rain event, please click on the link below:
Once the showers and storms ended across the area Saturday afternoon, the warm front finally moved up over the area. The cool and damp conditions during the morning with temperatures in the 60s, became warm and humid very quickly with temperatures warming into the 80s, and dew points increasing to around 70.
Weather map at 8 pm EDT Saturday evening. Click on image to enlarge
Additional waves of thunderstorms developed along and just north of the front late Saturday evening, and lasted through most of the overnight hours. An additional 1 to 2 inches of rain fell North of the I-96 corridor. This rainfall combined with rainfall from earlier in the day began to cause some flooding issues with standing water in low lying areas, and high stream levels.
The warm front then moved North of the Warning and Forecast area by Sunday morning. This placed the entire area in the very warm/hot and humid air mass.
Weather map at 2 pm EDT Sunday afternoon. Click on image to enlarge
Temperatures were well into the 80s at many locations by mid-morning Sunday morning. Temperatures maxed out in the mid 80s along the Lake Michigan coastline, to the mid 90s South of the I-96 corridor. Heat Indices approached 100 at locations South of I-96.
A cold front then began to approach the area late in the afternoon on Sunday. In addition, a wave of low pressure in the upper levels of the atmosphere moved in across the area. These conditions, combined with the heat and humidity in place touched off numerous showers and thunderstorms across the area. The strongest of the storms went through the cities and villages of Grand Haven, Norton Shores, Fruitport, Kent City, and Sparta. Straight-line winds up to 75 mph were estimated to have produced numerous tree damage, property damage, and power outages.
A short break in the action occurred after the Sunday evening storms. However, shortly after midnight, another line of storms developed on a line from Holland to Lansing. The storms were not severe, however they produced more heavy rainfall and frequent to continuous lightning.
A more detailed summary of the Sunday evening and Sunday night storms can be found at the following link:
A series of cold fronts then slipped through the area during the day on Monday. These cold fronts went through with only a few showers and storms, none of which were severe across Southwest Lower Michigan. Some cloud cover and cool air from the storms the night before limited the amount of instability needed for more widespread and severe thunderstorms.
Weather map at 2 pm EDT Monday afternoon. Click on image to enlarge
Plenty of rainfall fell across the area during the Friday night through early Monday morning time frame. Below is a composite radar estimate of the rainfall that fell through that period.
Total rainfall amounts through the period ranged from around an inch toward Clare county, to as much as locally 5+ inches across extreme northern Barry county. The interesting aspect of all this rainfall is that no river flooding has occurred during this time frame, and no flooding is expected. The biggest impacts aside from severe weather were the locally heavy downpours that occurred at times. These, combined with a saturated soil, produced standing water in local fields and low lying areas on area roadways. The water receeded fairly quickly after the rainfall would end, and storm drains could recover.