Severe Weather Outbreak of June 22-23, 2015

The severe weather event we were up against was well televised by our meteorological models and, at least in my point of view, could have been worse given the projected instability, shear in many lower levels of the atmosphere and over all strong dynamics and winds aloft. I mentioned July 2nd, 1997 and July 7, 1991 as one of the previous severe weather events it reminded me of when forecast by the guidance. One major difference was timing as with both previous July events; the cold front moved through at or near peak heating. Another factor was the disruption and stabilizing factor, at least somewhat, of the warm front and attending storms that pushed through mid-late afternoon. These storms developed on the old storm outflow boundary set up the night before, generated over the upper Midwest. The cloud and rain debris was also responsible for a mainly cloudy day (another limiting factor) on Monday even before the afternoon storms.

All in all, it was a memorable event with four tornadoes and numerous severe thunderstorms spawned Monday into the early morning hours of Tuesday. One tornado touched down just east of Birch Run /EF2/, another in the vicinity of Decker/Deckerville /EF1/, a third just north to northeast of Manchester /EF1/ and a fourth, just southwest of Emmet /EF0/. A fifth tornado hit Portland /EF1/ over Southwest Michigan earlier on Monday afternoon.

See report from the NWS-DTX

Mesonet Storm Report


  1. Even giving the early disruption - I'm still wondering why activity (especially in mid/southwest Michigan) didn't gain more potency. There was quite the opportunity given the setup!

  2. I totally agree, The model projections and realized dynamics of the air masses, instability and jet core aloft, I would have expected a more serious outbreak. Timing of the second outbreak was not in our favor, however I've seen many times with that kind of dynamics and instability a more widespread severe weather event. Chalk it up as one of the more perplexing results - one of many over the decades.

    1. I agree. I had to drive to Ann Arbor to observe what I thought was the most severe storms. I thought a much more widespread area of storms would crop up, and they moved really slow across southern Michigan until they took the more southern hook and aside from lightning, I was expecting a more widespread wind and hail event. But those earlier storms from the outflow boundary and the cloudier day seemed to stabilize the upper air just enough especially east of 23 and especially east of 275. I should have traveled to near Jackson (and north of) seemed to be where the ingredients came together until they "peaked" going through Ann Arbor and weakened somewhat as they went south and east toward Ohio border where I seen isolated minor wind damage in areas

    2. I drove to Ann Arbor that night to observe the storms because you could see the earlier outflow storms had zapped the energy as they "peaked" and turned quickly south and east with the whole line toward Ohio where I witnessed much less wind damage east of Us23 (and I- 275). Their were pockets of minor wind damage in Monroe county from what seemed like different cells, but I thought this was gonna be a more widespread big day. I think the lingering clouds from the earlier thundershowers (in SE Mich anyways) kept the temps down, and the storms were creeping along until they got to Ann Arbor closer to midnight, then it seemed like a mini "low" may have formed as the storms sped up and took that southeast hook toward Ohio. Maybe if the disturbance came through about 5 hours earlier I would have had some great video. Its confounding! I'm beginning to think inflow from the lake disrupts storms from south of Dearborn to near Flat Rock downriver because its hardest to get good storm pics in that area. Livonia/Plymouth/Canton area, seems to be an area storms do like to hit. But I thought this day was a sure thing, a day everyone would have a storm story to tell. But, it was quite isolated as it moved through our area. Relatively speaking I mean. Nothing like the July 1997 outbreak that I witnessed the storm forming that dropped a tornado in Highland Park (chasing from Dearborn where I caught it). But not on this day. That'sthe weather for you in Michigan