This weekend is the annual Port Huron-to-Mackinac sailboat race, the longest freshwater sailboat race in the world.
I’ve actually raced in two of them -- it’s quite an endurance test. The race starts around noon Saturday. They leave Port Huron and sail northward up Lake Huron. And Saturday afternoon there is the possibility that some strong to severe storms will cross the lake. Wind gusts over the lake could exceed 60 mph near the storms, and waves could reach five feet.
- Watch the live radar above.
Metro Detroit weather: Spotty rain Friday before Saturday storms
Since this is a sailboat race, they can’t turn on their engines and motor away from the storms. In some cases, boats will have to plow right through them if they cannot navigate around them. While boats sinking are rare, it did happen in the 1985 race when the yacht Tomahawk went down. They fired flares, abandoned ship, and another boat turned on its engines and motored over to rescue them.
If you know anybody racing in this weekend’s Port Huron to Mackinac race, make sure they see the special video I just posted on the free @Local4Casters app…there’s serious weather trouble they need to know about. @Local4News #BMR2021 pic.twitter.com/ty6VYe0icN— Paul Gross (@PGLocal4) July 23, 2021
Saturday’s severe threat
Saturday morning will start with scattered showers and thunderstorms ahead of a warm front crossing the area. That front is the front edge of a much stickier air mass, so get ready for the humidity to come roaring back.
It may take about 2-3 hours for thunderstorms to start developing once the warm front passes. Storms will develop along a line from roughly Saginaw Bay to Kalamazoo, and they will move southeastward during the hottest part of the day.
These storms will become strong-to-severe, with a high risk of damaging wind gusts. There is also a risk of hail, but that isn’t as big as the wind threat. So, be ready for potential power outages by keeping your devices fully charged Saturday morning.