michigan | Tornado kills 1, injures at least 23

(Gaylord) A tornado hit a small northern Michigan community hard on Friday, killing at least one person and injuring at least 23 others as it overturned vehicles, ripped roofs off buildings and downed trees and power lines.

Posted yesterday at 9:23 p.m.

John Flesher et Ed White
Associated Press

The tornado struck Gaylord, a town of about 4,200 people about 370 kilometers northwest of Detroit, around 3:45 p.m.

Mike Klepadlo, owner of Alter-Start North, an auto repair shop, said he and his employees hid in a bathroom.

“I’m lucky to be alive. (The tornado) blew up the back of the building, he claimed. Twenty feet (6 meters) of the back wall is gone. The whole roof is gone. »

Emma Goddard, 15, said she was at work making a ‘smoothie’ for a customer when she received a phone alert about the tornado. Thinking the weather outside looked “stormy, but not scary,” she went back to what she was doing. Her mother then called and she assured her mother that she was fine.

“Not even two minutes later, my colleague’s mother rushed through the front door of Tropical Smoothie and yelled at us to run to the back of the building, because there was a funnel cloud coming in. headed our way,” she told The Associated Press via text message.

They took shelter in the cold room, where they could hear the windows breaking.

“I was crammed side-by-side with my seven co-workers, two of my co-workers’ parents, and a lady from Door Dash picking up her smoothies. »

After about 15 minutes, they left the cold room and smelled natural gas, she said.

“As soon as we got out, we were shocked to find some of our cars in multiple pieces on the ground,” wrote Emma Goddard, noting that three nearby businesses had been destroyed.

Brian Lawson, a spokesman for Munson Healthcare, said Gaylord-Otsego Memorial Hospital was treating 23 people injured by the tornado and one person was killed. He did not know the condition of the injured or the name of the deceased.

Mr Lawson said the pace of people being brought to the hospital slowed on Friday evening.

“From what I understand things have stabilized a bit,” he said.

Video posted online showed a dark funnel cloud materializing as nervous drivers watched or slowly drove away, unsure of its path.

Another video showed extensive damage along the town’s main street. A building appeared to be largely collapsed and a Goodwill store was badly damaged.

Extreme winds are rare in this part of Michigan because the Great Lakes suck up storm energy, especially in early spring when the lakes are very cold, said Jim Keysor, a Gaylord-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service. .

He said the conditions that spawned Friday’s tornado included a cold front from Wisconsin that interacted with warm, moist air above Gaylord, in addition to swirling winds in the lower atmosphere.

Gaylord, known as the ‘Alpine Village’, is due to celebrate its 100e birthday this year.

The community also hosts the annual Alpenfest in July, an Alpine-inspired celebration honoring the city’s heritage and partnering with a sister city in Switzerland.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Never miss any important news. Subscribe to our newsletter.