Wednesday, Oct 26, 2016
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Michigan storms spawn 3 tornadoes, darken 119,000

ALLEGAN, Mich. Severe thunderstorms swept across southern Michigan over the weekend, spawning three tornadoes, dumping as much as eight inches of rain in places and knocking out power to 130,000 homes and businesses, authorities said Sunday.

As much as eight inches of rain fell in the Holland area, and there was widespread flooding in the western Lower Penisula. The National Weather Service issued flood warnings for the Grand River and other rivers and streams for most of the southwest quadrant of Lower Michigan.

The weather service confirmed Sunday that three tornadoes touched down Friday night in Allegan and Kalamazoo counties, destroying or heavily damaging three homes and several other buildings. No injuries were reported.

Cleanup work continued Sunday as utility crews worked to restore power to those still blacked out by the storms.

About 4,500 CMS Energy Corp. customers out of 119,000 who lost power were still off-line Sunday night, said spokeswoman Harmony Nowlin. She said power was expected to be fully restored Monday.

DTE Energy Co., the state s other leading utility, reported few storm-related outages.

Indiana & Michigan Power Co. spokesman David Switzer told The Herald-Palladium that power likely would be restored Sunday to the last of about 11,000 customers in the southwest corner of the state.

Cherry grower Herb Teichman told the St. Joseph newspaper the heavy rains damaged the region s crop by causing growing cherries to split.

The first of the tornadoes touched down about 9:40 p.m. Friday in Allegan County, about four miles southwest of Allegan the weather service said. It was on the ground for 5.7 miles, destroying one home and blowing the roof off another.

A second tornado hit about 9:50 p.m. in Kalamazoo County, about four miles southwest of Otsego. It was on the ground about 1.8 miles, destroying one building and knocking down many trees.

A third tornado hit about 10:10 p.m. in Kalamazoo County, about two miles north of Richland, and covered a 1.3-mile path. It tore the roof off a house and destroyed a deck.

Several hundred people who attended a weekend music festival at the Ionia Free Fair grounds were told they could not retrieve their cars until Wednesday, when the Grand River was expected to recede. The two-day festival was cut short Saturday and thousands of people had to be evacuated, The Grand Rapids Press reported.

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