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Perry continues recovery efforts following devastating summer tornado

The image shows a pile of wood and metal debris lying on the ground on top of an outdoor warning siren. The debris appears to be the remains of a tree that has been cut down and chopped into pieces. There are also several branches and leaves scattered around the pile. The image was taken in Perry, Michigan after an EF-1 tornado struck the town in August 2023. The tornado caused damage to several homes and businesses in Perry.
City of Perry
One of two outdoor warning sirens in the city of Perry were destroyed beyond repair by a tornado in August of 2023.

In August, a tornado with wind speeds close to 100 miles per hour touched down near a Perry government building in Shiawassee County before moving through other structures and homes.

“Immediately after the tornado for the first two or three weeks, the Department of Public Works was still cleaning up tree debris,” said Perry Mayor Sue Hammond. “There was also sidewalk damage where trees toppled and their tree roots came up and pushed the sidewalk.”

The tornado also destroyed a pavilion at Veteran’s Memorial Park near Perry’s city hall, as well as one of two of the outdoor warning sirens.

This week, city officials completed the installation of the new outdoor siren. According to Perry City Councilmember Bob Porter, the siren is placed in a more centralized location and is expected to be fully functional by Christmas day.

Employees of the City of Perry's Department of Public Works install a new outdoor warning siren.
City of Perry
The City of Perry installed a new outdoor warning siren on the corner of Main and Rolfe.

“We're putting in a new state of the art siren and this is getting in a different location,” Porter said. “It's down by Carlton grocery store so it should cover more of the city a little bit better in the sound area.”

Since the storm, the city has also been able to clear out all the accumulated debris, replace the damaged siren, repair some of the damaged sidewalks, and replace several city flagpoles.

According to city officials, the tornado caused about $500,000 in damage.

Despite declaring a state of emergency the day following the storms, the city of Perry did not qualify for state funding because officials did not classify the damage as catastrophic.

The city has beenraising funds through its website to try and cover the $205,000 in damages that were not covered by insurance.

“To date, we've received just about $30,000 in donations, those have come from local businesses, residents who live in the area, friends who live out of town,” Hammond said.

Hammond is hopeful that additional donations will come from the community in the coming months.

As WKAR's Bilingual Latinx Stories Reporter, Michelle reports in both English and Spanish on stories affecting Michigan's Latinx community.
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