past emergency events

May 5, 2003
A low pressure system developed over the Colorado Rockies and intensified over the plains as a warm front strengthened over the Mississippi River Valley and progressed Northeastward.  These features combined to develop thunderstorms in Southeast Michigan along a wind shift and behind the advancing warm front.  Temperatures aloft were relatively cool, and strong shearing winds were present which increased the threat of severe thunderstorms.

TIMELINE

1627    Emergency Management notified of potentially significant thunderstorms by the Storm Prediction Center.  EOC Communications Center immediately activated.
 
1741    Storm Prediction Center issued Severe Thunderstorm Watch #257 for South Central and Southeast Lower Michigan until 10:00 p.m.  Local Skywarn Spotters activated.

1839    Severe Thunderstorm Warning issued until 7:30 p.m.  Doppler radar indicated a severe thunderstorm 5 miles Southwest of Chelsea.  Spotters reported 1/2" to 1" hail West and South of Chelsea.

1912    Tornado Warning issued until 8:00 p.m.  Doppler radar indicated a developing tornado 5 miles West of Chelsea moving East at 40 MPH.  Numerous Spotters confirmed a rotating wall cloud (precurser to a tornado) visible from State and I-94, Platt and Ellsworth, and from Washtenaw and US-23 moving East-Northeast.  Spotters also reported hail from pea-sized to 1-1/2" in diameter falling around the storm.  All warning systems were activated, including outdoor warning sirens. 

1935    Tornado Warning cancelled.  No tornado touchdowns were reported, as the storm moved into Northwestern Wayne County.  No reports of structural damage or injury were received. 

2015    Skywarn Spotter activation was terminated.

Radar Image of Hook Echo 
EOC radar image of hook echo (indicating a tornado-capable thunderstorm) 6 miles West of Ann Arbor
Wallcloud Photo - May 5, 2003 
Picture of rotating wall cloud (precurser to a funnel cloud and tornado) taken in Ann Arbor [Mike Hurley]
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