Watch CBS News

Multiple Tornadoes Touch Down In Michigan; Power Outages, Damage Widespread

DETROIT (WWJ) - It was a wild night of weather in Michigan with thunderous storms and at least three confirmed tornadoes, including one in Washtenaw County.

The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down around 1:30 a.m. Tuesday in Manchester, about 30 miles southwest of Ann Arbor.

"This is a very rural area in Washtenaw County," said WWJ's Charlie Langton. "I'm looking right now at a two-story house, the roof is completely gone. Huge trees right next to the house are completely torn down, uprooted. There's actually a tree branch sticking out of the house."

Garret Macomber was inside the house at the time.

"It was just the strongest wind you could imagine, I mean, it was to the point where I felt like it was lifting that house up," he said. "And we just all ran to the basement and it was blowing stuff in through the windows. It was outrageous."

Tony Pate, with Hanem Restoration, said he was surprised to hear that no one inside the home was hurt, considering all the damage.

"The indications are that it was a tornado, just by the twisting of the large trees, and then the debris that has been shot into the house and a pretty significant distance away," said Pate. "There was actually a little goat shed in the field and they went to go check and see how the goat was. The shed was missing and the goat was just standing there."

Macomber said it's a miracle that the goat survived.

"There's damage way out in the hayfield and it done pulled posts out of the ground, that were four-feet in the ground and threw them all the way out in the hayfield and it didn't even touch the little goat," he said.

The tornado also damaged a home daycare center nearby. The roof was completely torn off the building, with toys and other debris scattered across the property. Robert Price was inside with three children -- ages 3, 8 and 11 -- when the storm hit.

(credit: Charlie Langton/WWJ Newsradio 950

"I tried to keep calm the best I could but when that lawn furniture busted that front window out, I knew how serious it was at that moment," he said. Price and the children were uninjured.

Another tornado touched down just after 10 p.m. Monday in Tuscola County's Millington, east of Birch Run and Frankenmuth. Several homes were damaged and "a few people" were treated for injuries, according to police.

Reports say the tornado passed through an RV park, flipping at least one RV on its side. At its peak, estimated wind speeds were at 115 miles per hour.

In Ionia County, a tornado rated EF1 with winds of around 100 mph touched down in Portland, about 25 miles northwest of Lansing, around 2:30 p.m. Monday. Five people, including two small children, had to be rescued from buildings that were damaged in the storm.

Portland Mayor James Barnes, who was working in Ann Arbor at the time, said the twister touched down and left in a flash.

"As it turned out, it hit so quickly they didn't even have a chance to sound the sirens -- and that was nobody's fault," said Barnes. "We've asked for a disaster declaration and the county is perusing that. But at this point, they are out assessing the damage."

The Lapeer County Sheriff's Department said there were a couple of unconfirmed sightings of tornadoes in the northern neighborhoods. Resident Allen Karwowski surveyed the damage while driving to work Tuesday morning on M-53 through Almont.

"There's telephone poles busted in half and trees down, so something definitely came through," he said. "All the street lights are out and I saw some business signs down, too."

Meantime, DTE Energy says about 31,000 homes and businesses are without power in the metro Detroit area.

"Wayne County has our highest number of outages, followed by Washtenaw, Lapeer and Monroe counties, and that follows the weather pattern that we saw overnight," said DTE's Randi Berris. "Our crews are working around the clock to restore power as quickly as possible, and the calm weather Tuesday will certainly play in our favor."

Heavy rains left many metro freeways flooded Tuesday morning, including portions of I-94, I-75 and the Southfield Freeway.

[Drivers Go Wrong Way On Southfield Freeway, Exit On Entrance Ramp To Escape Flooding]

flooding - southfield freeway
(credit: Mike Campbell/WWJ Newsradio 950)

The weather also affected the annual fireworks display over the Detroit River. The show was originally scheduled for 10:06 p.m. Monday, but organizers moved it to 9:06 p.m. due to the threat of thunderstorms.

Luckily, forecasters say the weather Tuesday will be much nicer -- mainly sunny and less humid, with a high around 80 degrees.

Know before you go: Keep it tuned to WWJ Newsradio 950 for the latest forecast during traffic and weather, every 10 minutes on the 8s. See the live, local radar now at this link.

Sign up for severe weather text alerts: Text STORM to 95001
For daily weather forecast text alertsText FORECAST to 95001

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.