Storm Survey of Brief Tornado near Rapid River, MI on July 25, 2008
National Weather Service, Marquette, MI
A warm and humid airmass was in place over Upper Michigan on Friday, July 25th. A cold front approaching from northwest Wisconsin triggered of showers and thunderstorms over western Upper Michigan early Friday afternoon, then spread into central Upper Michigan around 5 pm EDT. The strongest thunderstorm tracked from near Merriweather southeast to near Cornell by 5 pm EDT. Meanwhile, also around 5 pm, a weaker thunderstorm developed just southwest of Escanaba. This weaker storm moved northeast, and then collided with the thunderstorm moving southeast from Cornell. The combination of these two storms colliding and a lake breeze off Little Bay De Noc resulted in a quick spin up of a tornado about 1 mile southwest of Rapid River in the town of Masonville at 5:15 pm EDT. The time the tornado was on the ground was brief (less than 2 minutes) with a path length of 150 yards, and path width of 50 yards. Some damage included: snapped and uprooted trees, shingles torn off two house roofs, a board thrown into a camping trailer, and a trampoline lifted into the air and then dropped upside down over a fence. Based on the damage, the tornado was rated an EF0 on the Enhanced Fujita Scale with wind speeds of 65 to 85 MPH. A few pictures of the damage are shown below. The collision of the two storms eventually turned into a line of storms, which then produced isolated wind damage with a few trees uprooted near Garden Corners.
Marquette Doppler Radar (WSR-88D) Image from 514 PM EDT. Click on the picture to enlarge.
Below are some pictures of damage near Bayshore Drive and 26th Road in Rapid River.