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Slow-moving storm pounds S.E. Michigan Debris litters the streets in the Meadow View subdivision in Dexter, Mich. Emergency crews were assessing damage, but in one neighborhood, a home appeared to be flattened while adjacent homes were damaged.
Debris litters the streets in the Meadow View subdivision in Dexter, Mich. Emergency crews were assessing damage, but in one neighborhood, a home appeared to be flattened while adjacent homes were damaged.
DETROIT FREE PRESS Enlarge
Published: Friday, 3/16/2012 - Updated: 2 years ago

Slow-moving storm pounds S.E. Michigan

Monroe County reports twisters; Ida home damaged

BLADE STAFF AND NEWS SERVICES


A funnel cloud is spotted near Lambertville, Mich. A funnel cloud is spotted near Lambertville, Mich.
PHOTO COURTESY OF ROB MUMY Enlarge

DEXTER, Mich. -- A tornado ripped through a southeastern Michigan community Thursday, damaging or demolishing many homes, downing trees and power lines, sparking fires, and flooding neighborhood roads.

Flood advisories remain in effect Friday for Lucas and other northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan counties. Some Toledo-area roadways were closed because of high water, including partial lanes of Cherry Street near the Summit intersection.

Fremont City Schools are on a two-hour delay because of area flooding.

The slow-moving storm Thursday night was part of a system packing large hail, heavy rain, and high winds.

The tornado touched down in the Dexter and Pinckney areas northwest of Ann Arbor, said Marc Breckenridge, director of Emergency Management for the county.

VIDEO: Youtube video of tornado touchdown in Dexter, Mich., about 5:30 p.m.

Crews were assessing damage, but in one neighborhood, a home appeared to be flattened while an adjacent home lost most of its roof and second floor. Houses across the street also sustained damage to their roofs and siding.

There were no reports of injuries or fatalities, Mr. Breckenridge's office said.

In other parts of the region, two tornado sightings were reported in Monroe County.

One of the twisters reportedly hit a home at 7741 Ida-Center Rd. in Ida, causing severe damage to the house and flipping over a car, authorities said. No injuries were reported.

A second tornado was reported to have touched down in the county, but no confirmation of damage was reported. LaSalle Township Fire Chief Tim DeSloover said he observed two funnel clouds on South Otter Creek Road and near I-75.

"We're getting absolutely hammered," Fire Capt. Jim Hemwall of Monroe County's Frenchtown Township said Thursday night. "We have funnel clouds spotted all around us."

Captain Hemwall said a house in the town of Exeter was struck by lightning and debris swirled around another in Monroe County's Dundee.

No injuries were immediately reported, "but it's early," he said.

In Toledo, remnants of the storm resulted in loud and strong thunderstorms that swept across northwest Ohio.

The city tied a record high for March 15 when temperatures hit 78 degrees, a record first set in 1990.

The unusually warm temperatures that have remained in the upper-60s and 70s are predicted to continue throughout the month.

There were unconfirmed reports of a tornado touching down in northwest Lapeer County, near Columbiaville, Mich., where trees and power lines had been downed, National Weather Service meteorologist Amos Dodson said.

The storm packed wind gusts up to 70 mph and 2-inch hail, he said.

In the village of Dexter, all roads were closed as darkness fell, with police diverting traffic.

Area police and fire agencies were going door-to-door searching for any injured, Washtenaw County sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson said.

People needing shelter for the night were directed to a local school.

Eastern Michigan University in nearby Ypsilanti also was buckling down for the storm.

Neighbors help salvage items from a home in Dexter, Mich., where a tornado touched down and damaged several homes in the Dexter and Pinckney areas northwest of Ann Arbor. Neighbors help salvage items from a home in Dexter, Mich., where a tornado touched down and damaged several homes in the Dexter and Pinckney areas northwest of Ann Arbor.
DETROIT FREE PRESS Enlarge

"We put out an all-campus notice to students to take cover, and a tornado warning is in effect," school spokesman Walter Kraft said.

The notices were sent out via text messages and emails, Mr. Kraft said.

University of Michigan Health System spokesman Kara Gavin said patients were moved into hallways and window blinds have been closed in rooms.

Some critically ill patients were moved away from the windows and would be moved farther if necessary.

Ms. Gavin said there were no reports of damage in or around the Ann Arbor hospitals.

The American Red Cross of Washtenaw and Lenawee counties expected to open a shelter at Mill Creek Middle School in Dexter and provide shelter, food, water, other basic needs and mental health services, spokesman Jenni Hawes said.



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