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Local and federal officials to assess damages in Southwest Michigan following May 7 storms, tornadoes

Cleanup underway after 2 tornadoes hit Southwest Michigan
Cleanup underway after 2 tornadoes hit Southwest Michigan 02:38

(CBS DETROIT) - Local officials and the Michigan State Police Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division will conduct a joint preliminary damage assessment with the Federal Emergency Management Agency after severe storms and tornados struck Southwest Michigan earlier this month.

The agencies will conduct the assessment for Branch, Cass, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties on May 15 and 16.

Officials say the assessment will review "the extent, severity, and impact of the storm, tornado, and wind damage to homes and businesses" in the counties, according to a press release. The assessment will determine whether the damages meet the criteria for requesting a federal declaration and assistance.

Severe Weather
A mobile park home at Pavilion Estates near Kalamazoo, Mich. is destroyed on the morning of Wednesday, May 8, 2024 after a tornado had swept through the night before. Joey Cappelletti / AP

The National Weather Service confirmed that four tornadoes struck the region on May 7, including an EF-2 tornado that touched down in Portage. Officials said the tornado traveled for about 11 miles, reaching an estimated peak wind of 135 mph and damaging several homes and businesses, including a FedEx facility.

Kalamazoo County officials said on Monday that the storms destroyed nearly 50 homes. Twenty-four of those houses were mobile homes near Portage. 

In response. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for the four counties that were impacted. The declaration allows for all state resources to be available with local response and recovery efforts in the areas.   

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