Two children among five dead as severe storms — including at least one tornado — devastate Michigan

Sheriff’s office says a 21-year-old woman and two girls, ages 3 and 1, died in a weather-caused car accident

Andrea Cavallier
Friday 25 August 2023 20:57 BST

Tornadic Storm Leaves Damage In Michigan

Five people, including two children, are dead after severe storms that spurred at least two tornadoes devastated parts of Michigan, downing trees, tearing roofs off homes and leaving thousands without power.

An EF-1 tornado with winds up to 110 mph (177 kph) touched down in Kent County, near Grand Rapids, on Thursday night, according to the National Weather Service (NWS).

A weaker EF-0 tornado with peak winds of 80 mph (128 kph) was on the ground for about two miles in Wayne County’s Canton Township, west of Detroit, the weather service said. That tornado caused a tree to fall into a house, meteorologist Sara Schultz said.

Meanwhile, a 21-year-old woman and two young girls, ages 3 and 1, died Thursday after two vehicles collided after hydroplaning during the storms, the Kent County Sheriff’s Office said.

“There were two vehicles traveling toward each other. One hydroplaned on water and it was occupied by four people,” Sgt. Eric Brunner told WZZM-TV.

The sheriff’s office said a 22-year-old Gowen man who was driving the car carrying the Gowen woman and two girls was seriously injured in the crash, which occurred when his car struck an SUV. That vehicle’s driver suffered minor injuries.

In Lansing, the state capital, one person died Thursday night after a tree fell on a home. Lansing Police Department spokeswoman Jordan Gulkis told the Lansing State Journal that firefighters extricated one person from the home who was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

The Kent County Sheriff's Office said a 21-year-old woman and two young girls, ages 1 and 3, died in the storms on Thursday

An EF-1 tornado touched down in Kent County on Thursday night at 90mph (145 kph), according to the National Weather Service (NWS)

In Ingham County, where Lansing is located, the sheriff’s office said Friday that one person was confirmed dead and several people severely injured as more than 25 vehicles were severely damaged along Interstate 96.

It was not immediately clear early Friday afternoon if the storm or a non-weather-related crash was responsible for the wrecks on the freeway.

Wayne County Executive Warren Evans declared a state of emergency Friday in Michigan’s most populous county, which includes Detroit, due to power outages, flooding, fallen trees and power lines and storm debris.

Trees were uprooted and some roofs collapsed during Thursday’s storms, which left many roads closed due to fallen trees and power lines.

More than 460,000 customers in Michigan and over 218,000 in Ohio were without power as of Friday morning, according to the website.

Trees were uprooted, and some roofs collapsed during Thursday’s storms, leaving many roads closed due to fallen trees and power lines.

Thursday night’s storms followed a round of heavy showers Wednesday that left areas in southeast Michigan with over 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) of rain by Thursday morning, resulting in street flooding in the Detroit area, including tunnels leading to Detroit Metropolitan Airport in the suburb of Romulus, officials said. Officials reopened the airport’s McNamara Terminal on Thursday afternoon.

Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer activated the State Emergency Operations Center on Thursday evening to provide support to affected communities “as they respond to the impacts of flooding.”

The Associated Press contributed to this story.

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