GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — A storm that ripped through parts of Iowa and Illinois Monday is tracking toward West Michigan, bringing the threat of damaging winds, large hail or even a tornado.
A severe thunderstorm watch is in effect for Branch, Calhoun, Ionia and Montcalm counties until midnight. Severe Thunderstorm warnings were issued for several counties in West Michigan but they have been dropped.
The storm caused significant damage in Iowa where, with wind gusts clocked above 120 mph, it was classified as a derecho. The National Weather Service in Des Moines reported cars blown of the road and flipped, as well as roofs torn from buildings. Online maps showed huge swathes of the state without power.
The core of the storm tracked almost directly east, moving into northern Illinois. It appeared it could hit the Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo areas when it arrived in West Michigan.
It rolled on shore in West Michigan around 6 p.m. and could reach Kalamazoo and Grand Rapids just before 7 p.m. Wind gusts were anticipated to be around 60 mph in much of West Michigan.
As the storm blows across Lake Michigan, it could also cause large waves that flood piers, breakwaters and lakeshore buildings. Lakeshore flood warnings are in effect for Berrien and Van Buren counties until Tuesday morning.
The Storm Prediction Center has placed much of West Michigan in the “enhanced” risk area for a severe storm, and a large chunk of the rest of the state in the “slight” risk area.
Several counties in West Michigan are experiencing power outages. As of 8:30 p.m. the Consumers Energy power outage map shows these counties have more than 100 consumers without power:
St. Joseph: 1,131
Van Buren: 2,486