Tuesday night in Southwest Michigan was not without its excitement. Several confirmed tornado touchdowns, including one that dropped near Mattawan, and moved through Texas Corners and Portage, just south of I-94. And another that touched down near Centreville, and moved through Colon, Sherwood, Union City, and Burlington.

But it's that second storm that is making history in the state of Michigan, as it was the first ever Tornado Emergency issued in the state of Michigan, which is much different from a standard tornado warning.

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What's the difference between a Tornado Warning and a Tornado Emergency?

We all know the difference between a Tornado Watch, and Warning. A watch means the ingredients are there to potentially develop a tornado, and a warning is obviously some form of confirmation - either by spotters or radar - that a tornado is occurring.

But what is a Tornado Emergency?

First issued in 1999 during the Moore, Oklahoma F5 tornado event, a tornado emergency is issued by the National Weather Service when a confirmed tornado is on track to impact heavily populated areas, and has the potential to be a long-track storm. In the 25 history of the rare alert, only 199 have ever been issued.

Both storms on Tuesday in Southwest Michigan did drop tornadoes, and yes, the one that went through Portage likely caused the most damage (though it's still unknown how much damage either storm did, fully). But it's the one that went through Union City that made history for Michigan.

By the time the storm reached Union City, spotters, and radar had confirmed that a large tornado has dropped, and stayed on the ground for a long time - just east of Three Rivers near Centreville, and was moving East/NE at around 35 mph.

As it continued across Highway 66, and toward Colon, the storm picked up strength, and at its peak strength, was expected to hit Union City square on - a direct hit in a populated area, by a long-track confirmed tornadic storm.


Michigan's First Ever Tornado Emergency

Just after 6:10 p.m., on Tuesday, May 7th, the National Weather service issued its first ever Tornado Emergency in the state of Michigan, for Branch County, including the communities of Sherwood, and Union City - a population of more than 5,500 people, and two schools in the path of what became a dangerous storm.

The Emergency expired at 6:30, but in its wake, the tornado left damage, power outages, and some without homes.

Thankfully, though, no severe injuries, or deaths have been reported at this time from the storms.

If more information is needed, this story will be updated as it is provided.

These Are The 10 Deadliest Tornadoes In Michigan's History

Here are some of the worst cases of tornadoes in Michigan’s history as the Lansing State Journal documents on their map

Tornadoes in Michigan, Early 1900s