Thousands in Detroit, Flint without power after tornadoes hit
One minor injury and no deaths have been reported, per the National Weather Service
Metro Detroit and Flint Michigan experienced a series of tornadoes on Saturday, damaging several homes and businesses in Macomb, Oakland and Genesee counties and leaving thousands of residents without power.
The National Weather Service (NWS) confirmed Sunday that a series of tornadoes touched down across southeastern Michigan on Saturday, including one in Macomb County’s city of Armada, one in the White Lake township of Oakland County, and one in Genesee County.
Macomb County’s tornado peaked with 105 mile-per-hour winds while tornadoes in Oakland and Genesee counties both reached 100 mile-per-hour wind peaks, per NWS data.
One minor injury was sustained in Oakland County after “numerous healthy trees were uprooted and snapped” and multiple pine trees fell onto a resident’s roof, per NWS. No deaths have been reported.
DTE Energy, which provides electricity for millions of Michigan residents, reported that 133,200 of their customers had been impacted by the storms. They added that over 1,000 DTE employees are working “around the clock” to mitigate damage, which includes over 600 damaged wires.
Oakland County Emergency Management (OCEM) received reports of “structural damage to homes and businesses, flooding and blocked roads,” per the Associated Press.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation to support the safety of all residents in Oakland County,” said County Executive Dave Coulter in a statement. “We urge all residents to report downed wires and stay away from standing water.”
Local officials were initially unsure of what kind of storm caused the damage, and one of the first reports speculating it was a tornado came from a Macomb County antique store called The Lambs Tail via Facebook.
“Good evening, all. After receiving a few messages, I thought I’d better let everyone know that The Lamb’s Tail and all of its inhabitants are ok! A tornado hit just east of us in town,” staff said. “There are a lot of families without power and many small businesses with damage. Please keep Armada in your thoughts tonight 💗😢.”
In a Sunday press conference, before NWS completed investigations, Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel said although it is unconfirmed whether or not the storm was a tornado, that is what evidence would suggest.
“They’re pretty much certain it was [a tornado] based upon the radar patterns that they’ve seen. But they have to come on ground to make that determination,” Hackel said. “But for all intents and purposes, we are considering it to be a tornado that has ripped through here in Armada.”
DTE is encouraging area residents to report outages and downed power lines online at outage.dteenergy.com, by calling 1-800-477-4747, or by downloading the DTE Energy Mobile app. For up-to-date weather alerts, follow the National Weather Service Detroit on Twitter @NWSDetroit.
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