Storms Wednesday carry threat of tornadoes, 70 mph wind, weather service says
Summer-like air is fueling storms across Michigan Wednesday, including some that may be severe and bringing the possibility of tornadoes.
The forecast calls for highs Wednesday to top out in the upper 80s. Showers and thunderstorms are likely mainly before 11 p.m.
The remnants of Tropical Storm Cristobal were sweeping through the state late Tuesday, National Weather Service radar showed.
The weather service expects severe thunderstorms accompanying a strong cold front to surge through the region.
A line of storms just after noon Wednesday formed in the Kalamazoo and Allegan area. About 85,000 Consumers Energy customers in west and northern Michigan were without power after midday, according to the utility.
"Moderate to strong instability and strong wind shear will support supercells capable of damaging wind gusts of 60 to 70 mph with a few tornadoes also possible," National Weather Service meteorologists said.
The weather service issued a lakeshore flood warning for St. Clair and Macomb counties through midnight Wednesday as "roads and low lying property prone to shoreline flooding are expected to take on additional water."
There is also a small craft advisory from 4 a.m. to 11 p.m. Wednesday for Lake St Clair and the Michigan Waters of Lake Erie from Detroit River to North Cape.
"Expect sustained winds up to 18 knots from the south with gusts up to 32 knots," the weather service said. "The largest significant waves will be 3 feet with a potential maximum wave height of 4 feet."
The winds could cause problems around the state, as well.
Gale warnings have been issued through early Thursday for Lake Michigan from St. Joseph to Manistee as well as parts of Lake Huron including the Grand Traverse Bay area, Mackinac Bridge and Sleeping Bear Point.
The weather service also issued a wind advisory through 10 a.m. Wednesday for Leelanau, Benzie and Manistee counties. A lakeshore flood advisory is in effect between 3 a.m. and 2 p.m. Wednesday for parts of Chippewa and Mackinac counties.
Further south, a wind advisory is in effect until 8 a.m. Wednesday for Mason, Oceana, Muskegon and Ottawa counties.
"Gusty winds could blow around unsecured objects," the weather service said. "Tree limbs could be blown down and a few power outages may result."
A "beach hazards statement" is in effect through Thursday evening for Mason, Oceana, Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren and Muskegon counties, meaning high waves, strong currents and dangerous swimming conditions are expected.
"Strong currents can pull swimmers into deeper water and high waves can sweep people off piers," the weather service warned.
Earlier Tuesday, the thermometer soared to near-record levels. By 4 p.m., the mercury climbed to 88 degrees at Detroit Metro Airport, the weather service reported. The record high for June 9 is 93 degrees last set in 1976. The average high for the date is 78.
Temperatures hovered in the upper 70s after 11 p.m. as storms moved across mid-Michigan. The average low this time of year is in the upper 50s.
Thursday is expected to be slightly cooler, with highs around 76, with wind gusts as high as 28 mph.
Partly cloudy skies are on tap for Friday, with temperatures reaching the mid-70s.