The Lake Superior Tornado Outbreak of July 6-7 2019 was without a doubt the most destructive severe weather event the Lake Superior area had ever seen. The first tornado touched down over Lake Superior as a mesocylonic waterspout at 11:50pm July and the final tornado lifted off of Drummond Island MI at 10:48pm July 7. In total, 71 tornadoes touched down in North Dakota, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, and Ontario. The strongest of which was an EF5 wedge that tore a mile wide, 22 mile long path through the rural countryside northeast of Escanaba, MI. In total, there were 372 casualties, 1,017 injuries, and 31 missing persons. One of the main factors that led to a high amount of deaths was the inexperience of the area residents, of which only a few had ever even seen a tornado. Also factors include remoteness of the area, lack of storm shelters, and a lack of storm spotters reporting to the NWS. The meteorological setup was a slow moving dryline combined with remarkable instability. A mild spring had warmed lake temperatures of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan to the point that the lakes no longer provided the security of supercell killing lake breezes, but now provided lake breezes that did little to halt storm development, and instead provided a source of rotation for the storms. This made storms along the dryline to rotate, and storms forming ahead of the dryline rotate as well. This created a prolonged period of risk for the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which is located in between the two lake breezes.


Highrock Bay Tornado. EF0. 11:50pm-12:04am. Zero fatalities.

This tornado touched down as a mesocyclonic waterspout in between the Keweenaw Peninsula MI and Manitou Island MI before moving onto Manitou Island itself, causing tree damage. A camper on the Keweenaw Peninsula who had brought a high end camera was able to capture a picture of the tornado as a waterspout backlit by lightning.

South Grand Forks Tornado. EF0. 8:10am-8:17am. Zero fatalities.

This tornado touched down just to the south of Grand Forks ND during an unremarkable storm in the morning of July 7. It caused minor damage to 3 farm structures on a 2 mile long path before lifting.

Cohasset Tornado. EF2. 9:15am-9:27am. Zero fatalities, 1 injury.

This destructive tornado touched down 1 mile southwest of Cohasset MN and moved directly through the town of Cohasset before causing tree damage and eventually lifting over Prarie Lake. The tornado caused damage to 37 structures and injured one person.

Hull-Rust-Mahoning Iron Mine Tornado. EF3. 9:16-9:26am. 1 fatality.

This tornado touched down under a mile west of Keewatin MN and caused tree damage before tearing through the Hull-Rust-Mahoning Iron Mine. The tornado displaced loose rock causing it to slide down which displaced a dump truck driving along the edge of the water-filled lowest level of the mine. The tornado presumably shoved the truck into the pit, killing the driver. The tornado continued past the mine causing more tree damage before lifting over the mine's tailing pond. The tornado's strength was measured based only on the tree damage it caused, so its actual strength could be higher. In total, it traveled 7 miles.

Kimberly Tornado. EF1. 9:27-9:44am. Zero fatalities.

This tornado lived most of its life as a weak rope tornado carving a 16 mile long path through rural areas of Minnesota. In total, it damaged 5 homes before lifting over the unincorporated community of Kimberly

Madeline Island Tornado. EF2. 9:36-9:44am. Zero fatalities.

This tornado started as a tornadic waterspout before afflicting a direct hit on LaPoint WI and Madeline Island located in the Apostle Islands. The tornado hit the boat harbor, demolishing 45 private boats, some were thrown a quarter mile inland into the forest. In total, it traveled 3 miles and damaged 6 structures.

Apostle Islands Tornado. EF1. 9:48-10:06am. 2 fatalities

Shortly after the Madeline Island tornado lifted, a nearby storm spawned another tornado over mainland Wisconsin. The tornado became a waterspout, and subsequently struck five of the Apostle Islands; including Oak Island, Manitou Island (WI), Cat Island, and Outer Island. The tornado heavily damaged the Outer Island Lighthouse before moving onto the open lake. Two kayakers were killed when the tornado struck their campsite. In total, the tornado traveled nearly 20 miles.

Border Tornado. EF0. 9:52-9:55am. Zero fatalities.

A weak tornado that touched down in a heavily wooded area of Minnesota before crossing into Ontario Canada. The tornado caused tree damage but no structural damage. It traveled 2.5 miles.

Jackson Lake Road Tornado. EF0. 9:53-10:13am. Zero fatalities.

A weak, anti-cyclonic tornado that touched down on Jackson Lake Road MN and crossed into Canada. In total, it damaged 2 structures and lasted 6 miles.

Cottage Road Tornado. EF2. 9:52-10:12am. Zero fatalities.

This tornado touched down near Grand Portage MN and quickly became a waterspout. The waterspout directly hit Grand Portage Island, causing tree damage. The tornado once again crossed water and made landfall on Pigeon Point. The tornado left land once more and entered Canadian waters. The tornado's EF2 damage was recorded along Cottage Road, where the tornado made landfall and severely damaged 5 homes. The tornado traveled 14 miles.

Merriweather/Bergland Tornado. EF0. 10:10-10:23am. Zero fatalities, 2 injuries.

This tornado touched down as a rain-wrapped rope tornado within the village limits of Merriweather and moved northeast into the village of Bergland causing minimal damage to 29 structures. Two people were injured when the tornado toppled a tree onto their car. The tornado carved a 7 mile long path.

Toivola/Chassel Tornado. EF4. 10:11-10:43am. 12 fatalities, 34 injuries. This tornado touched down in a vast expanse of forest in Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. The tornado grew to a large, photogenic stovepipe before obliterating the unincorporated community of Toivola, destroying all 17 structures in the village. The tornado continued on through more forest and farm fields. It eventually bared down on the town of Chassel MI, where it caused a half mile wide swath of EF4 damage. Cars were picked up and hurled into nearby Pike Lake, which saw a large patch of debris float around for 9 month until winter, when a blizzard washed the debris onto the shore. A gas station suffered severe damage, including a gas leak which eventually caught fire, burning the gas station and 2 acres of adjacent forest. After leaving it's trail of destruction, the tornado turned to Pike Lake. One of it's vortices strayed from the parent tornado and blew the roof off of a lakeside home. The tornado crossed Portage Canal and wiped out numerous acres of forest. The tornado traveled another few miles before dismantling 7 lakeside cottages. The tornado entered Lake Superior. It crossed onto Traverse Island where it roped out. In total, it traveled 32 miles and damaged 55 structures. For a brief period, it was the most powerful tornado Houghton County had ever seen.

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