• Wed. Jun 29th, 2022

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Michigan tornado injures multiple people, damages homes and businesses

A tornado struck Northern Michigan on Friday afternoon, damaging homes and businesses, authorities said.

Michigan State Police said an unknown number of injured were being taken to hospitals by ambulance after the vortex struck the city of Gaylord, about 230 miles north of Detroit. 

No deaths had been reported, the agency said.

NBC affiliate WPBN of Traverse City, Michigan, broadcast images of mobile homes flipped and knocked over at a Gaylord trailer park. It also showed footage of buildings ripped apart near theaters known as Gaylord Cinema West.

Power outages in the area prompted Gaylord’s Otsego Memorial Hospital to divert any new patients to other facilities, the station reported.

More than 22,000 customers in Northern Michigan were without power Friday, according to PowerOutage.US, including more than a third of utility users in Gaylord.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said Friday she would commit necessary resources to rebuilding and reparing damaged areas.

“My heart goes out to the families and small businesses impacted by the tornado and severe weather in Gaylord,” she tweeted. “To the entire Gaylord community—Michigan is with you.”

Michigan State Police tweeted at 4:46 p.m. that emergency crews were en route, debris including downed trees and power lines blocked roadways, and “multiple homes and businesses” have been damaged in the storm.

A National Weather Service employee reported seeing a tornado touch down on the west side of Gaylord at 3:53 p.m.

National Weather Service meteorologist Rich Pollman said by email the agency has initially confirmed the vortex.

The agency’s process of fully confirming tornadoes usually includes a next-day walkthrough of the impacted area to measure its possible path and damage.

The National Weather Service said a tornado warning remained in effect for the county that includes Gaylord, Otsego and the village of Posen.

A tornado watch was also in effect for parts of Delaware, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia through 7 p.m.

The tornado appeared to be the product of unsettled weather as a cold front from the Great Lakes to the Southeast clashed with unusually warm temperatures in the Northeast.

Federal forecasters said severe storms from Lower Michigan to southern Oklahoma and eastern Texas were possible through Saturday.

Janhvi Bhojwani and TJ Swigart contributed.