On October 18, 2007 a tornado struck the town of Williamston, east of Lansing, killing two people as it damaged or destroyed dozens of homes. Fortunately, we do not see any severe weather the next few days as October is turning much colder. We are currently in a tornado drought in southwest Lower Michigan. The last tornado was on August 9, 2011. This is the longest streak without a tornado in this area since the Doppler radar era began 20 years ago.
Although the weather pattern will be more like winter through next week, the Williamston tornado is a reminder that severe weather can strike in the Fall. In fact, Ionia County was hit by a tornado as late as November 27th in 1989.
Here are some photos of the damage from the Williamston tornado.
This map shows the path of the storm circulation, or mesocyclone as detected by radar. The mesocyclone is the rotating updraft that is the "parent circulation" to the tornado. The tornado circulation is too small and shallow to be seen by the radar at this distance. The red colors mark the more intense rotation that occurred in the storm as the tornado hit Williamston. The mesocyclone track seen west of Lansing did not produce a tornado.