1997 Southeast Michigan tornado outbreak

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The Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak occurred on July 2, 1997 in the built-up area of Detroit, Michigan. There were 13 tornadoes in total, 3 dragged through neighborhoods and downtown, hitting northern Detroit between I-96 and Eight Mile Road, Hamtramck and Highland Park.[1] The storms killed 7, caused local flooding, and destroyed houses. 5 of the fatalities were recorded in Grosse Pointe Farms, Michigan due to straight-line winds of up to 100 mph that blew a gazebo full of people into Lake St. Clair.[2] One tornado formed east of the Detroit River, in Essex County, Ontario near Windsor, Ontario and caused damage in Windsor and Essex County. The strongest tornado was listed as an F3.[3]

Aftermath[edit]

Later that evening and the next day, the local television stations (such as WJBK, WDIV-TV, and WXYZ-TV) displayed video and images of downtown Detroit.

The temperatures on July 2 were very high, around 90 °F (32 °C), with a heat index close to 104 °F (40 °C). After the storm passed, the temperatures dropped to 70 °F (21 °C).

For the next 6 to 8 hours, there were still thunderstorms rolling and rumbling through, and many people were afraid of further tornadic activity, especially since two-thirds of the City of Windsor were without power until the next morning. Many large trees were felled by the storm's winds as well.

Tecumseh Road viaduct[edit]

The effects on the Tecumseh Road viaduct on the west end of Windsor, Ontario were quite overwhelming, however. The steel girder viaduct was built in 1944, and was just two-lanes, going under the CN Rail line that leads to the Michigan Central Railway Tunnel. The storms associated with the tornado outbreak dumped such a large amount of rain and floodwaters, that the viaduct was flooded up to the height of a car's roof, as one automobile was submerged (The driver was unharmed, however).

Since this viaduct was a well-known traffic bottleneck (even more so for transport trucks, since the viaduct was so low, it would peel the roof off their trailers), and would flood with around a foot of water from even a light rain, that it was completely closed, torn down, and rebuilt in August 1998, and finished 2 weeks ahead of schedule, and 2 million dollars under budget. The new underpass is built of concrete, is four lanes wide, and is designed to handle the largest of transport trucks.

Other tornadoes[edit]

The Michigan tornado outbreak of July 2 was part of a larger outbreak stemming from a storm system that crossed the eastern part of North America from July 1 to July 3, 1997. On July 1, several tornadoes touched down across western and northern Minnesota north of the Twin Cities Metropolitan Area of Minneapolis and St. Paul. On July 3, several tornadoes touched down from eastern New York to southern New Hampshire. No other fatalities were reported outside of Michigan. In total, 52 tornadoes touched from northeastern Kansas to New England during the three-day event.

Tornado table[edit]

Confirmed
Total
Confirmed
F0
Confirmed
F1
Confirmed
F2
Confirmed
F3
Confirmed
F4
Confirmed
F5
52 13 26 9 4 0 0

Confirmed tornadoes[edit]

July 1 event[edit]

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
Kansas
F1 E of Woodlawn Nemaha 1015 2 miles
(3.2 km)
Four barns and a machine shed were destroyed, and a hay wagon was tossed some distance into a field.
Minnesota
F1 SE of Glenwood Pope 2135 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F1 Willmar area Kandiyohi 2245 1 miles
(1.6 km)
A warehouse was destroyed and the roof of a motel was damaged.
F1 SW of Spicer Candiyohi 2250 2 miles
(3.2 km)
Cabins and boat docks were damaged.
F0 W of Mentor Polk 2307 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
F0 SE of Crow River Meeker 2315 0.5 miles
(0.8 km)
Caused damage to trees.
F0 W of Dassel Meeker 2335 3 miles
(4.8 km)
One barn was damaged and a tree was blown into a house.
F0 SW of Terrebonne Red Lake 2340 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
F3 E of Rassat Wright 2343 5 miles
(8 km)
One home was completely destroyed.
F1 W of Waverly Wright 0000 1 miles
(1.6 km)
Garages and barns were blown down, and some structures sustained roof damage.
F2 W of Monticello Wright 0010 5 miles
(8 km)
F2 Monticello Wright 0010 2 miles
(3.2 km)
Two tornadoes merged and caused extensive damage in the Monticello area. Homes in town lost their roofs, and many trees and power lines were downed. Damage was initially believed to have been a result of straight-line winds, though it was re-evaluated as an F2 tornado post-survey.
F0 Red Lake Falls area Red Lake 0050 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
F1 N of St. Francis Anoka, Isanti 0052 10 miles
(16 km)
One barn collapsed
F0 Dorothy area Red Lake 0113 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
F1 E of Forest Lake Washington 0115 1 miles
(1.6 km)
Brief tornado with unknown damage.
F0 N of Rock Creek Pine 0204 4 miles
(6.4 km)
Weak tornado in a rural area did not cause any damage.
F0 N of Olivia Renville 0259 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
F0 NE of Blomkest Kandiyohi 0315 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
Wisconsin
F1 SW of Conrath Rusk 0444 1 miles
(1.6 km)
A farmhouse lost its roof.
Source: Tornado History Project - July 1, 1997 Storm Data

July 2 event[edit]

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
Michigan
F1 NE of Roscommon Crawford, Oscoda 1900 13 miles
(20.8 km)
Damage mainly to trees including in the Huron National Forest. One home was destroyed as well.
F1 W of Chesaning Saginaw 1941 2 miles
(3.2 km)
A house lost 6 windows and sustained damage to its porch. Trees were downed and a garage was destroyed. Many cable and power lines were broken as well.[4]
F1 SW of Chesaning Saginaw 1950 0.3 miles
(0.5 km)
Tornado tore siding from a house and garage and downed a tree. A wooden playhouse was thrown 20 feet.[5]
F1 NE of Layton Corners Saginaw 2010 2 miles
(3.2 km)
Worst damage was in the Maple Grove area. Tornado destroyed two barns and downed many trees in a neighborhood.[6]
F1 E of Au Gres Arenac 2015 3 miles
(4.8 km)
Three homes were destroyed and several others were damaged.
F1 NW of Morseville Genesee 2020 0.3 miles
(0.5 km)
Tornado downed trees and caused roof damage to a house.[7]
F1 E of Montrose Genesee 2020 2 miles
(3.2 km)
Numerous trees were downed.[8]
F1 NE of Burt Saginaw 2020 1.5 miles
(1.4 km)
Tornado damaged a single house, where windows were blown out and the roof was damaged. A tree was downed and a playhouse was damaged as well.[9]
F3 SE of Clio Genesee 2030 2 miles
(3.2 km)
Two homes and a bar were heavily damaged or destroyed. A billboard was blown over, with its steel support beams severely bent. Trees and power poles were downed as well.[10]
F1 Oak Grove area Livingston 2041 10 miles
(16 km)
Extensive tree damage occurred, and hay wagons were flipped. One wagon that was thrown was never located. A house under construction lost its roof as well.[11]
F3 E of Thetford Center Genesee 2045 1.7 miles
(2.7 km)
1 death - Several homes were heavily damaged or destroyed, including one that was blown from its foundation. Barns and outbuildings were destroyed, and several metal high-tension towers were destroyed. Two cement silos had their tops ripped off. Trees were also downed, one of which landed on a house, resulting in a fatality.[12]
F1 NE of Columbiaville Lapeer 2115 1 miles
(1.6 km)
Tornado thew boats onto the beach at Miller Lake and snapped numerous trees. Picnic tables were smashed and travel trailers were damaged as well.[13]
F1 NE of Holly Oakland 2132 0.3 miles
(0.5 km)
1 death - 2 mobile home parks were heavily damaged, with several mobile homes being damaged or destroyed by the winds and/or by rolling trailers. Most of the trailers were not tied down.[14]
F2 Detroit area Wayne 2200 5 miles
(8 km)
Affected portions of the city of Detroit. Up to 100 people were injured. Damage amounts was estimated at around $100 million. The towns of Hamtramck and Highland Park were also heavily affected. Some homes lost their roofs or were shifted from their foundations. Many trees and power lines were downed as well.[15]
F0 SE of Romeo Macomb 2213 0.7 miles
(1.1 km)
Indiana
F0 E of Noblesville Hamilton 2012 0.5 miles
(0.8 km)
Damaged a barn, an outbuilding, and trees.
F2 Anderson area Madison 2040 5 miles
(8 km)
35 homes and one business were damaged.
F0 New Castle area Henry 2104 0.1 miles
(0.16 km)
Damage was limited to trees.
Ontario
F1 Merlin/Erieau area Essex, Kent 2030 18.8 miles
(30 km)
Some structures lost their roofs and barns were destroyed.
Ohio
F0 Dublin area Franklin 2230 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
Caused minor damage to several homes and blew down numerous trees.
F2 E of Xenia Greene 2300 0.2 miles
(0.32 km)
A house was blown off its foundation and moved 35 feet away.
F3 Felicity area Clermont 0030 12 miles
(19.2 km)
Major damage occurred in the Felicity area. 56 mobile homes and 27 permanent homes were damaged or destroyed. Barns and sheds were also destroyed.
Source: Tornado History Project - July 2, 1997 Storm Data, 1997 Ontario tornadoes

July 3 event[edit]

F# Location County Time (UTC) Path length Damage
New York
F1 E of Pumpkin Hollow Columbia 2123 5.3 miles
(8.5 km)
Two houses and a barn were damaged.
F1 S of Queechy Columbia 2317 1.2 miles
(1.9 km)
Several residences were damaged and a carport was moved.
F2 N of Cannan Center Columbia, NY, Berkshire, MA 2320 1.5 miles
(2.4 km)
In New York state, four greenhouse structures were damaged while a three-story home had its roof blown off and the garage completely destroyed and removed from its foundation. One home in Massachusetts was damaged.
Massachusetts
F1 SE of North Adams Berkshire 2136 1.3 miles
(2.1 km)
One home lost most of its roof shingles, and the steeple of a church was blown off.
F1 W of Colrain Franklin 2158 4.5 miles
(7.2 km)
Extensive tree damage occurred, a silo was destroyed, the roof of a barn was damaged, and a tractor was flipped over.
F2 NW of Hephzibah Heights Berkshire 2205 4.5 miles
(7.2 km)
10 to 20 homes were heavily damaged.
F2 N of West Otis Berkshire 2211 3.7 miles
(5.9 km)
15 to 20 homes were damaged.
F1 W of Griswoldville Franklin 2258 8.5 miles
(13.6 km)
15 trailers at a campground were damaged, including one that was destroyed.
New Hampshire
F1 SE of Swanzey Cheshire 2313 2 miles
(3.2 km)
A house barn was destroyed and an ice arena was damaged. Extensive tree damage occurred as well.
F2 E of Greenfield Hillsborough 2355 2 miles
(3.2 km)
A recycling facility was destroyed. Buildings at a campground, wood and aluminium buildings, and a sawmill were damaged.
Source: Tornado History Project - July 3, 1997 Storm Data

See also[edit]

Sources[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ WJBK-TV 2, Detroit, MI
  2. ^ 1997: The Year in Review
  3. ^ WJBK-TV 2, Detroit, MI
  4. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  7. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  8. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  12. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  14. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 
  15. ^ "Southeast Michigan Tornado Outbreak". NWS Detroit/Pontiac. NOAA. June 15, 2007. Retrieved January 1, 2014. 

External links[edit]