Tornado Confirmed near Iron River on April 30th


EF0 Tornado Confirmed in Iron County


Thunderstorms that moved across portions of western Upper Michigan back on Friday, April 30th produced a tornado in Iron County.


The National Weather Service in Marquette conducted a ground survey of storm damage and analyzed aerial photographs provided by the Michigan DNRE. The result of the analysis and survey indicated that the damage was caused by a tornado.


The tornado touched down at 5:50 PM CDT on Friday, April 30th just west of Homer Road between Forbes Road and West Mineral Avenue approximate 1 ½ miles northwest of Iron River. The tornado then tracked northeastward across Homer Road and lifted in an open area just south of Forbes Road. The tornado was on the ground for just under a half mile (.40 miles) and had an average width of about 100 yards. The maximum wind speeds were estimated at 85 mph, which made it a strong EF0 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita scale. 


Fortunately, most of the significant damage was confined to uprooted trees but there appeared to be some roof damage and damage to a few out buildings near the path of the tornado.


April tornadoes are quite rare in Upper Michigan. There have been 65 confirmed tornadoes in Upper Michigan since 1950. Of the 65 tornadoes, only 4 of them (including the recent Iron County one) have occurred in the month of April. This tornado is the 6th tornado confirmed in Iron County since 1950.



Figure 1 -- National Weather Service Doppler Radar Reflectivity Image from Marquette at 548 pm CDT (648 pm EDT) -- two minutes before       tornado touchdown. The tornado is noted by the red T. Note the "hook" shape to the storm. (click on the picture to zoom in) Figure 2 -- National Weather Service Doppler Radar Storm Relative Velocity Image from Marquette at 548 pm CDT (648 pm EDT) -- two minutes before tornado touchdown. The tornado is noted by the red T. The red colors are outbound winds, while the green colors are inbound winds. (click on the picture to zoom in)


Aerial Photographs courtesy of the Michigan Department of National Resources and Environment (DNRE) -- Click on any photograph for a larger image (note -- each photo is over 2 MB). On each photograph, note the convergent pattern of the fallen trees. This is one indicator that this was tornadic damage opposed to microburst type damage.

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