December 23rd Detroit Tornado is Michigan’s First Ever

Detroit Tornado

Detroit Tornado, photo by Joe Gall

The National Weather Service reports on the first ever December tornado in Michigan:

A strong low pressure system tracking from the southern Plains into the Upper Great Lakes brought record December warmth to Southeast Michigan on Wednesday, December 23rd. Stronger winds associated with this system interacted with the unseasonably warm air to produce the first December tornado in Michigan history during the evening. This tornado occurred in Wayne County, just north-northeast of Canton. The tornado was rated EF-1 with peak winds of 90 mph. The tornado touched down at 643 pm EST, tracking 2 miles before lifting at 646 pm EST.

This brief tornado developed along a fast moving line of showers that shifted across Southeast Michigan during the evening (5 to 8 pm). A Significant Weather Statement (SPS) was issued at 620 pm, highlighting the potential for wind gusts up to 50 mph. The brief duration and weak intensity of this tornado made the issuance of a tornado warning nearly impossible, typical of brief spin-ups that are embedded along a fast moving line. In many cases, such as this one, the tornado touchdown occurs largely between radar scans, leaving little opportunity for advanced warning.

This is the first December tornado in Michigan history and only the third during the winter season. The other two tornadoes occurred on Jan 18, 1996 in Kalamazoo County and Feb 28, 1974 in Wayne County.

You can get a report on the tornado with images of the very minor damage from WDIV TV-4/Click on Detroit.

Joe photoshopped this picture back in 2011, so please don’t tell me it’s not real because I know that. View it on Flickr and see more in his Movement 2011 slideshow.

More weather fun on Michigan in Pictures.

One thought on “December 23rd Detroit Tornado is Michigan’s First Ever

  1. The city of Canton got hit hard. I don’t ever remember the start of winter like this. In 82 it was just warm in December.

    Mary Ann


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