‘Catastrophic’ tornado surprises Michigan: ‘We don’t have sirens’

An unexpected tornado wreaked havoc in northern Michigan on Friday.

Lt. Jim Gorno of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources told CNN Friday night that the fast-moving tornado caused “catastrophic” damage as it swept through the town of Gaylord earlier in the day, including overturned cars and destroyed buildings. Multiple injuries were reported, but no deaths had been confirmed by authorities as of 6 p.m. local time.

“It’s a busy city center and it went straight through,” Gorno said. “We’re not used to it up here… We don’t have sirens like other parts of the country.”

According to social media posts Michigan State Police transported injured residents to hospitals in ambulances. Police urged the public to stay away from Gaylord and found that downed trees and power lines blocked the roads.

pictures & videos posted by others on social media showed homes and businesses torn apart by the extreme weather event, with debris from the damage strewn across streets and parking lots.

Sean Christensen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, told the Detroit FreePress that the tornado “touched down about 3:45 a.m. and just went right through town” and damaged businesses including Panera Bread and a Jimmy John’s.

Tornado Gaylord Michigan damages extreme weather
A large tornado swept through Gaylord, Michigan Friday afternoon, causing severe damage to several buildings in the area. Above, an F5 category tornado that struck the community of Elie, Manitoba, Canada on June 22, 2007.
Justin Hobson/Getty

Residents of Gaylord, located in the northern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, called Affected businesses included Taco Bell, Little Caesars, and Hobby Lobby, in addition to a mall and an RV dealership.

“I was sitting right there at the Taco Bell [M-32]and the funnel cloud came right down 32 and for some reason made a turn in the Taco Bell lot and hit all the buildings behind us and destroyed a few of them,” Frank McClellan told WWJ radio reporter Sandra McNeill.

“Somehow it didn’t affect where we were sitting,” McClellan added. “Explosions were coming our way and the next thing you know the funnel cloud is right in the parking lot.”

Due to the ongoing emergency, the City of Gaylord a curfew imposed Starts at 7:00 p.m. local time on Friday evening and ends at 8:00 a.m. on Saturday morning. police called that the Red Cross would occupy an emergency shelter at E-Free Church in Gaylord.

According to tracking website PowerOutage.US, just over 35 percent of residents in Michigan’s Otsego County — where Gaylord is the largest city and county seat — were without power after the tornado.

“My heart goes out to the families and small businesses affected by the tornado and storm in Gaylord,” said Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer Explanation shared on Twitter. “To the entire Gaylord community – Michigan is with you.

This isn’t the first tornado to sweep through the United States this spring. A tornado in western Iowa was caught on video earlier this month. In late April, a video of tornadic activity in Andover, Kansas went viral with over 1.2 million views. In addition, tornadoes have been reported in Texas, Florida, Georgia and other southern states.

news week contacted the Michigan Department of Natural Resources for comment.

https://www.newsweek.com/catastrophic-tornado-takes-michigan-surprise-we-dont-have-sirens-1708806 ‘Catastrophic’ tornado surprises Michigan: ‘We don’t have sirens’

Rick Schindler

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