Posted: Mar 27, 2020 / 03:33 AM EDTUpdated: Mar 27, 2020 / 04:07 AM EDT
The map above shows the Severe Weather Probabilities for Saturday PM/night. The severe weather probabilities have increased. There is now a Moderate Risk Area (in red) for part of Illinois. Surrounding that, there is an Enhanced Risk Area (in orange) that comes up to Chicago. The Slight Risk Area (in yellow) now comes up into S. Lower Michigan – generally south of a line from Holland to Toledo. The Marginal Risk Area (in dark green) now covers areas south of a line from Manistee to Houghton Lake.
SPC says: “Confidence is increasing for a potentially potent severe weather setup as ingredients needed for this are appearing to favorably align on Saturday…a significant severe weather outbreak is possible for portions of the middle Mississippi Valley on Saturday. The threats with the stronger storms include tornadoes, a few which may be significant, large to very large hail and severe (wind) gusts. Storms may continue well into the evening across parts of the OH Valley/southern Great Lakes posing a severe risk.”
We’re only in the Slight and Marginal Risk Areas here in W. Michigan. The best chance of severer weather Saturday will be southwest of Michigan. We haven’t had severe weather in a long time (not much last year), so it’s time to think about a severe weather plan. This year, with the coronavirus sheltering, you’ll have to think about not just where, but who you will be sheltering with.
If you’re in a big box store or supermarket, there may be a designated area where shoppers and store employees go during a tornado warning. However, putting dozens of shoppers and store staff in a relatively small shelter has the added risk of virus transmission right now. The best plan is for you not to be there in the first place. Stay home during a tornado watch if you have a suitable shelter. If you’re home does not have a suitable shelter, think about moving to a place where there is a suitable shelter before the storm. The underground parking areas in the city are very good tornado shelters (stay away from the entrances/exits). Idea: Make the underground parking areas free during a tornado watch – events have been canceled this year – there would be no wait to exchange money or to put credit cards into a machine. Tornado watches are rare. Most of West Michigan didn’t get a tornado watch all last year (Berrien and Cass Counties had one tornado watch).
I think we’ll have a more active severe weather season this year in both Michigan and the U.S. This outlook area will be updated later today and again Saturday AM and (if I’m up), I’ll update this blog thread when that happens. I’ve set up shop in my basement, and my house actually has a real tornado shelter (with a foot of concrete on top of it), so I should be able to blog and do facebook and twitter during a storm (as long as my internet connection is good).
Again, we’re only in the Slight and Marginal Risk Areas Sat. PM – there may be no severe weather at all here in Michigan.
Here’s the Severe Weather Outlook Map for later today (Fri.). There is a Slight Risk Area (in yellow) from E. Kansas to W. Indiana. Surrounding that is a Marginal Risk Area that comes up to the SW corner of Lower Michigan. SPC says: “Widespread thunderstorms capable of producing mainly isolated large hail are expected from E. Kansas into the Midwest today. A few locally strong wind gusts and perhaps a tornado or two are also possible.”
ALSO: Snow falling in the mountains just east of San Diego. Snowing as I write this on the webcam at Julian CA. Hail up to dime-size at Vista CA. Lightning at El Cajon CA.