Authorities say a powerful tornado ripped across northern Michigan Friday afternoon, killing one person and injuring many others, with “major damage” recorded.
One death and 44 injuries were confirmed by a Munson Healthcare representative. The severity of the injuries was not disclosed by the spokeswoman.
Four different hospitals are treating the injured. Otsego Memorial Hospital has 23 patients, Grayling Hospital has 12, McLaren Northern Michigan Petoskey has eight patients, and Munson Medical Center Traverse City has one patient.
On Friday night, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer issued an emergency declaration for Otsego County.
“Michiganders are hardy people.” We are tenacious. We will reconstruct in every way necessary. “There’s no obstacle we can’t overcome together,” she wrote on Twitter.
A tornado touched down in Otsego County, according to the Michigan State Police Seventh District.
“Roadways are blocked by trees and power lines. Several homes and businesses have been damaged “On Twitter, the agency stated. “The Gaylord area should be avoided. Emergency crews are on the way.”
The region had “severe damage,” according to state police.
Residents in Gaylord are being instructed to stay put until 8 a.m. Saturday due to a “ongoing emergency,” according to state police.
Images from the site showed flipped cars, levelled buildings, damaged business roofs, and toppled trees.
My heart goes out to the families and small businesses impacted by the tornado and severe weather in Gaylord. To the entire Gaylord community—Michigan is with you. We will do what it takes to rebuild.
— Governor Gretchen Whitmer (@GovWhitmer) May 20, 2022
“My heart breaks for the families and small businesses in Gaylord who have been devastated by the storm and terrible weather,” Whitmer said on Twitter. “Michigan stands with the entire Gaylord community. We will reconstruct in whatever way necessary.”
The National Weather Service had issued a severe thunderstorm watch for the area through the evening, warning that “an isolated tornado cannot be ruled out in the broader area.”
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