Tornado Damages Homes, Businesses & Power In Shiawassee County

Mar 15, 2019

UPDATED Friday at 5:00 p.m.: Authorities say a tornado swept through mid-Michigan, damaging homes and knocking out power to thousands.

 


The National Weather Service confirmed that a tornado touched down at 7:03 p.m. Thursday around the Shiawassee County community of Vernon, about 21 miles (34 kilometers) southwest of Flint. Officials say the same tornado touched down in nearby Durand about 7:05 p.m.

Marc Stein says he rented a barn in Vernon Township that was completely demolished. 

He thought his three cows inside had been killed.

“The whole barn was on top of them, but they had about three feet of room. So we had Don Henry was out here with his excavator and chainsaws and we hooked ropes on to them and got 'em out of there," says Stein. 

What is left of the Great Lakes Fabrication and Machining Factory in Durand.

Over in Durand, the storm reduced The Great Lakes Fabrication and Machining factory to a mess of metal.

Joe Libby is with the company.

He says he’s looking on the bright side

“Our employees got their paychecks today. Everybody is taking a positive attitude. We are going to rebuild, we have insurance, everything is good. Nobody got hurt," says Libby. 

Police say the storm damaged about 70 homes and businesses. They say no injuries were reported.

Severe weather also moved through nearby Genesee County, where a mobile home park was damaged. Park resident Eric Wichert told MLive.com the winds "got really bad, really strong." Weather service officials say an unconfirmed tornado reportedly touched down nearby in the Flushing area at 7:12 p.m.

Lower Michigan also saw severe thunderstorm warnings, watches, flooding, high winds and hail as a late-winter storm system trekked across the Midwest.

 

UPDATED Friday at 12:00 a.m.

 

The National Weather Service has confirmed that a tornado touched down in Shiawassee County.

 

The White Lake-based weather service says a tornado touched down at 7:03 p.m. Thursday in Vernon, about 21 miles (33.79 kilometers) southwest of Flint. Officials say the same tornado touched down in nearby Durand at about 7:05 p.m.

 

Severe weather also was reported in nearby Genesee County.

Michigan State Police said first-responders confirmed at least 21 homes were damaged, but no injuries were immediately reported. Power lines also were downed.

 

Weather service officials say an unconfirmed tornado in Flushing, near Flint in Genesee County, reportedly touched down at 7:12 p.m.

 

The tornadic activity happened on a day that also included severe thunderstorm warnings, watches, flooding, high winds and hail throughout lower Michigan.