Rare February tornadoes touchdown in southwest Michigan

Rare tornadoes touch down in SW Michigan

GRAND RAPIDS, MICH. - February and tornadoes don't normally go together in a sentence -- it's one of the least active months for tornadoes in the United States and Michigan has had only one tornado on record since those records started in 1950.

Yet there have been a few rounds of storms with right ingredients to produce tornadoes this month, and the most recent round did. 

On Tuesday, Feb. 28, strong to severe storms surged through the Great Lakes region, producing dozens of tornado reports from Arkansas to Ohio. The next day the National Weather Service confirmed three EF-1 tornadoes in southwest Michigan in the communities of Niles, Dowagiac and Vandalia. 

Those three tornadoes bring the total number of tornadoes on record in the state up to four for the month of February since 1950.

According to the Storm Prediction Center, using data from 1989-2013, the average amount of tornadoes is zero for the winter months in Michigan (November, December, January and February). That average goes up slightly in spring months and peaks at an average of four tornadoes in the month of June. For the entire year, Michigan averages 16 tornadoes. 

Next month, it's time to remind yourself of severe weather protocol. Look for information to do that during Severe Weather Awareness Week from April 16 to 22, 2017. 

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Contact Laura: lhartman@wzzm13.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, "Meteorologist Laura Hartman," or on Twitter @laurahartmanwx.

© 2017 WZZM-TV


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