Experts assess damage from recent storms, tornado

Linda Gallagher, Contributing Writer

Photo by Joanie Moore

Alba resident Cecile Woodward (center) listens to National Weather Service's Observing Program Director Keith Berger (middle) and Meteorologist Jeff Lutz discuss wind strength and tornado behavior following a storm that swept through the area last week. Woodward received damage to her home when numerous trees fell and surrounded her house, with one landing on the roof.


ALBA – Coming on the heels of a violent thunderstorm last Tuesday, Aug.28, with straight-line winds that caused widespread damage, another storm at approximately 8 p.m. that evening spawned a tornado that touched down briefly in Antrim County's Star Township, according to the National Weather Service.

The tornado was rated as an EF-0, meaning it contained winds up to 80 mph, according to the Weather Service's Jeff Lutz, who said meteorologists in the area the day after the storm confirmed that damage seen in the Blackberry Lane area east of Alba, and south of Alba Highway indicated a twister, rather than more straight-line winds like those that occurred during the first storm last Tuesday morning. 

Determining that factor is done by finding a relatively narrow convergent pattern of damage coming from slightly different directions, Lutz said.

Although the tornado, which is thought to have had a width of 70 yards, is believed to have been on the ground for approximately seven miles – on a north-easterly path towards Gaylord, and crossed Alba Highway – damage from the storm was relegated primarily to downed and uprooted trees.

The area is very rural with few homes in the area.

The twister dissipated into the clouds just before reaching the Otsego County line.

Lutz and NWS Observing Program Director Keith Berger visited the area on the morning after the storm and said the storms through Alba and Mancelona were considered an anomaly.

"It's very rare to have two storms of that magnitude go through the same area on the same day," Berger said.

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