A series of severe thunderstorms that pushed damaging winds and tornados into several parts of Michigan on Monday and Tuesday wrecked homes and knocked out power to thousands of people, officials said.
From Monday afternoon through early Tuesday, the National Weather Service said tornados struck in the Ionia County community of Portland as well as in Washtenaw, Sanilac and Tuscola counties. State police reported storm damage that could be from tornados in Calhoun, Jackson, Kalamazoo counties.
“Our thoughts go out to all of the people across our state affected by Monday’s severe weather,” Gov. Rick Snyder said in a statement. “Our communities pull together after great challenges.”
The National Weather Service said one tornado hit about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday just outside of Manchester, southwest of Ann Arbor. Garrett Macomber told The Ann Arbor News that his farm was among those damaged.
“Half the roof is gone, it ripped out the trees, and I don’t even know about our fence,” Macomber said as he surveyed the Washtenaw County property. “The roof is all the way out in the hay field.”
Macomber said he jumped out of bed and ran to get everyone into the basement of his home as quickly as possible. The four people who live at the farm were accounted for, as were two dogs, 10 horses and a goat.
“It was a ridiculous amount of wind,” he said. “It felt like the whole house was lifting off its foundation.”
The most damage was reported in Portland, near Lansing, where five people were rescued from buildings after a tornado packing winds of about 100 mph hit Monday. The American Red Cross has opened a shelter for residents as cleanup takes place and Ionia County has declared a local state of emergency. More than 50 homes were damaged, officials said.
Heavy rain also caused flooding that slowed traffic on Detroit-area freeways and prompted flood warnings.
Late Monday, a tornado touched down about 5 miles from Decker in Sanilac County, destroying a large dairy farm. No injuries were reported.
Shortly afterward, about 5 miles from Millington in Tuscola County, another tornado was confirmed. A fire official said at least four houses were damaged and a few people were treated for minor injuries.
Some other damage was attributed to high winds. Storms overturned a recreational vehicle and downed trees in Saginaw County. In the Jackson area, authorities said at least four homes sustained extensive damage.
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