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Pre-Dawn Tornado Touches Down In Rochester Hills

ROCHESTER HILLS (WWJ) - Residents thought it felt like it was a tornado, and they were right. A team from the National Weather Service has confirmed that a pre-dawn tornado was responsible for damage in one Oakland County neighborhood.

"I was lying in bed and heard all this noise and thought ... it's a tornado," said Lee Rasona.

Rasona said the tornado was violent and hit the area seemingly without warning.

"It didn't last more than a minute, if that, 'boom - it hit,' it sounded like a train," said another Grandview street resident.

About half a dozen homes were severely impacted by the tornado Sunday morning in the Fairview Farms subdivision in Rochester Hills.

"I woke up because the rain and the winds were building and then we heard hail, and then it started making like a roaring sound - we rain in the bathroom and started hearing banging from debris and stuff. There is no way we could have made it to the basement all that (a large tree) fell on our stairwell," said Karen McPherson.

The "all that" McPherson is refers to is a massive tree that fell on her home in the wee hours of the morning.

Forcing she and her husband to take cover. Other neighbors had sections of their torn off...along with downed trees.

The EF-1 tornado -- just after 6 am near Brewster and Tienken -- was about 150 yards, with winds that reached 90 miles per hour.  It lasted a couple of minutes, says Rochester Hills Mayor Bryan Barnett.

"It's pretty significant damage, about a three block by three block radius mostly in this neighborhood - we've got few dozen homes that are pretty significantly damaged but the good thing is there is no personal injuries," said Barnett.

Mark Donahue was among those assessing the damage in the neighborhood. : "All the patio furniture was cleared off and (I) saw all the trees, big major trees, in the backyard all knocked over, uprooted," said Donahue. "Neighbors kitty-corner to us - half their roof was taken right off. You could see just the rafters," said Donahue.

Donahue told WWJ's Jon Hewett that it felt as if the wind were coming in through the roof in a manner of 30 seconds to a minute and then it was done.

Despite all the damage ... there were no reported injuries.

Residents were evacuated while utility crews ensured there was no further damage structurally to gas lines.

Storms on Saturday night caused massive power outages in the Romulus.

A DTE spokesperson said that Belleville saw the most significant outages, with an estimated 3,500 weather related power failures. Smaller, scattered outages have also been reported throughout most of southeastern Michigan.

Belleville resident Terry Skiver said that while the rain never got very heavy, the thunder was loud and the lightning was bright, leaving his home without power.

"Off in the distance there was lightning and thunder," Skiver said. "We just lost power and the entire main street is totally blacked out."

One Mount Clemens resident told WWJ that the rain was coming down so hard that she could barely see her neighbor's houses across the street.

"I live in the house I was born in 74 years ago — I have never experienced weather like this," she said. "The thunder is so bad that it's shaking the bed, shaking the lamp, the water was sloshing in the glass and the lightning is hitting everywhere."


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