DEXTER, Mich. (AP) — A Washtenaw County official says his office is responding to reports of "lots of damage" after reports of at least one tornado striking the ground.
County director of Emergency Management Marc Breckenridge says he could not confirm any reports of injuries or deaths from the twister Thursday afternoon. He could not provide details of the damage. No injuries or deaths have been reported.
National Weather Service spotters are reporting a tornado touchdown in the Dexter and Pinckney area of Washtenaw County. Weather Service Observation Program Leader Debra Elliott says radar also "is highly suggesting" a touchdown.
The Associated Press reports more than 100 homes were severely damaged and 13 homes were destroyed in last night's F3 tornado in Dexter.
It appears people were warned in time. Miraculously, there have been no reports of serious injuries or deaths.
From the Associated Press:
Initial estimates indicate the tornado that hit Dexter, northwest of Ann Arbor, Thursday evening was packing winds of around 135 mph, National Weather Service meteorologist Steven Freitag said Friday. He said it was on the ground for about a half hour and plowed a path about 10 miles long.
Dexter firefighter Dave Wisley told the Dexter Leader there are multiple gas leaks reported, but no fires have been reported.
The Red Cross reports officials are assessing affected neighborhoods this morning.
Two shelters have been set up in the wake of last night's storms to provide health services, mental health services, food, water and basic needs.
For those affected by the tornado in Dexter the shelter is at the Mill Creek Middle School in Dexter. The school is located at 7305 Dexter-Ann Arbor Rd.
For those affected by flooding at the Park Place Apartments in Ann Arbor a second shelter in Ann Arbor has been set up. This shelter is at the Salvation Army at 100 Arbana Drive in Ann Arbor.
An estimated 4,000 homes were without power this morning in Washtenaw County, most of them in the Dexter area.
Paul Ganz, regional manager for DTE Energy, said it was an "all-out call-out.''
"Dexter is a priority today,'' he said.
Michigan Radio's Jennifer Guerra traveled to the Huron Farms neighborhood, where dozens of houses were damaged by the tornado: roofs torn off, siding blown into the street, whole walls missing.
Some houses were completely destroyed, reduced to nothing more than a heaping pile of wood.
Monica Waidley and her family were among the lucky ones. She says the tornado didn’t touch their house:
"We were in the basement watching things fly through the air out of our backdoor; peoples’ lives landing in our backyards, it was really scary."
The Waidleys were visiting their friend, Vicki Shieck, who also lives in the neighborhood. Shieck says she was "down in the basement, doing the tornado tuck" when the tornado hit. Her house was spared, with just a little bit of window and roof damage.
Shieck says the tornado "literally went kitty corner" between her and her neighbors' house, before it careened up the path and destroyed nearby houses.
Residents were seen leaving the neighborhood with suitcases, some carrying whatever valuables they could.
There have been no reports that anyone was injured or killed.
A powerful tornado touched down in Dexter, Michigan at 5:33 p.m. Thursday evening.
The tornado demolished homes and damaged many others, uprooting trees and power lines.
It appears that no one was seriously injured or killed.
There were also reports of funnel clouds in Northfield Township and Saline, but trained spotters did not report any actual tornados.
Michigan Radio's Zoe Clark traveled to the scene and reported seeing homes with roofs and exterior walls stripped off.
People in Dexter are pulling together after Thursday’s tornado that destroyed or damaged more than a hundred homes and businesses
“Help yourselves…there’s chips….” Supermarket manager Gary Winters told a woman who rode out Thursday's tornado in her Dexter home. Winter spent his morning delivering water and snacks to emergency workers and construction contractors. By midday, he was turning hot dogs on the barbeque grill as people from the tornado ravaged subdivision next door line up.
He says giving away free food and water is the least they could do for their neighbors..
“Once you walk down there and see what actually happened last night," Winters pauses, "I don’t think…the pictures on the news really showed the amount of devastation down there.”
Everyone here says they are just grateful no one was seriously hurt or killed in the tornado.
Cleanup work is underway in Dexter after Thursday’s tornado. Much of the repair work is being done by Southfield-based Statewide Disaster Restoration
Raymond Eddy, the company’s executive director, said his crews started arriving last night, and they’re been busy securing homes pummeled by the tornado.
“In the case of the home were working on right here, the side wall is blown out. We’re putting a temporary wall in,” said Eddy. “We’re basically in March. It could snow tomorrow. You never know in the state of Michigan.”
There’s no snow, but rain is in the forecast this weekend.
Eddy said they’re focusing on securing homes missing walls and roofs.
“These homes are these people’s castles,” said Eddy. “So without some of the disaster restoration contractors here to help them out, these people don’t have a beginning …you know…see the light at the end of the tunnel.”
More than a dozen homes in Dexter were destroyed in Thursday’s tornado. Repair work to more than a hundred others may take weeks or months to complete.
Repair work is getting under way a day after a tornado damaged and demolished homes in Dexter.
The sound of power saws cutting through wood that just yesterday had been the walls of homes fills the air today in this Dexter subdivision.
Thursday’s tornado destroyed more than a dozen homes. More than a hundred others suffered damage.
No death or serious injuries have been linked to the strong that ripped through Washtenaw County late in the afternoon.
There’s no estimated cost so far of the damaged caused by the unusual March twister.
People in Dexter gathered on the streets this morning to assess the damage from Thursday's tornado, and to help clean up the mess.
DTE trucks lined Central Street in Dexter as crews worked on power lines. Nearby Keri Romine, co-owner of Dexter Mill, says two structures were destroyed on her property.
On Wilson Street, at the Huron Farms subdivision, cleanup crews like the Statewide Disaster Restoration Mobile Command Center were on site. Across the street, two cars had been crushed by a collapsed roof.
Homeowner Ricke Stauffer says he estimates the damage to his home at $20,000 to $30,000. Shingles and siding were ripped from his house, windows were blown out and the deck in his backyard was torn off.
Employees of Busch’s grocery store in Dexter were in the neighborhood giving away bottles of water.