Tornadoes and storms hit Michigan Tuesday and millions more face severe weather threat Wednesday


Powerful tornadoes and storms swept through southwest Michigan Tuesday evening, destroying or damaging homes and businesses and injuring several residents — and millions more, from Northeast Texas to the Carolinas, are facing at least a slight risk of severe weather Wednesday.

At least a dozen people were injured at a Pavilion Township mobile home park following a tornado Tuesday, according to a county official. The township is located in Kalamazoo County, where 15 to 20 people suffered minor injuries and were transported to two area hospitals, according to county emergency management spokesman Andrew Alspach.

In the nearby town of Portage, about seven miles south of Kalamazoo, photos and videos showed a FedEx facility with extensive roof and structural damage after a storm hit the area Tuesday evening. However, there were no serious injuries, a FedEx representative told CNN.

About 50 people were trapped in the building due to downed wires, Taylor Koopman, a spokesperson for the Kalamazoo County Administrator’s Office, told, adding that work to free the wires was underway. at 9:30 p.m. ET. However, City of Portage spokesperson Mary Beth Block told CNN in an email that the building had been permitted by officials.

Two tornadoes struck the Portage area Tuesday, the National Weather Service said.

“We experienced significant damage, including damage to residential and commercial buildings, downed trees on many city roads and several reports of gas leaks,” Portage city officials said in a statement. Press.

The city urged its residents to “stay home” and “stay off the roads.” First responders are stuck in a bind.

The village of Centerville was hit hard during a possible tornado Tuesday, according to St. Joseph County officials. Several buildings, both residential and commercial, were destroyed after a possible tornado touched down in Centerville on Tuesday, according to St. Joseph County Undersheriff Jason Bingaman. Storm damage ripped off roofs and leveled homes “completely,” Bingaman told CNN.

In Branch County, about 60 miles south of Kalamazoo, at least seven homes were destroyed, according to Emergency Management Director Tim Miner, who added that he had not been able to go out and assess the damage in other parts of the county.

One town in the county, Union City, was previously experiencing a rare tornado emergency that went into effect when “a large and destructive tornado” touched down in the area, about 10 miles northwest of Coldwater and moving northeast at 45 mph, according to the National. Weather service.

According to the Storm Prediction Center, at least nine reports of tornadoes were reported in Michigan on Tuesday. Softball-sized hail was also reported in parts of the state.

More than 34,000 Michigan homes and businesses were without power as of Wednesday morning, according to Elsewhere in the Midwest, more than 16,000 residents were in the dark in Ohio.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer said her heart goes out to those affected by the severe weather in southwest Michigan. The governor declared a state of emergency for Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Branch and Cass counties. said Tuesday evening.

“We will work overnight with emergency teams to monitor the situation and coordinate resources for those affected. Michigan is strong and together we will rebuild,” the governor said.

After Tuesday’s tornadoes, large hail, damaging wind gusts and heavy rain, mainly over the Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley, much of the eastern United States is bracing for another round of storms on Wednesday. More than 145 million people could witness storms Wednesday, from Texas to Maine.

A population of more than 2 million people will be exposed to the highest threat of a severe storm on Wednesday. The Storm Prediction Center issued a moderate risk for Level 4 out of 5 severe thunderstorms for parts of southern Missouri, southern Illinois, southwest Kentucky, and northwest and central Tennessee. Severe storms in the area are expected to intensify Wednesday afternoon, producing strong tornadoes above EF2 strength, large hail more than 3 inches in diameter, and damaging wind gusts above 74 mph.

Northeast Texas through western West Virginia is under a Level 3 of 5 enhanced severe storm threat. This includes the cities of Memphis, St. Louis, Louisville and Little Rock. The area could see tornadoes, hail greater than 2 inches and gusts greater than 74 mph.

Numerous severe thunderstorms are likely Wednesday from parts of the central Mississippi, Ohio and Tennessee valleys to the Southern Plains, according to the Storm Prediction Center. When severe storms strike, tornadoes, very large hail and damaging winds are expected over a wide area. Some tornadoes could be strong, according to the center.

“The greater threat of flash flooding also overlaps with the risk of severe thunderstorms, centered over Kentucky and Tennessee as well as parts of neighboring states,” the National Weather Service said. “Residents and visitors are advised to have multiple means of receiving warnings and to never drive through flooded roads. »

Weaker storm threats spread from central Texas to the southern tip of Maine and include the cities of Dallas, Austin, Atlanta, Chicago, Washington DC, Baltimore, New York, Boston, Philadelphia, Indianapolis and Charlotte. There, the threats tend to be large hail and devastating wind gusts, but tornadoes cannot be ruled out.

Spring is known for its violent storms and tornadoes – and spring 2024 is no exception. There has been at least one tornado report every day since April 25, a streak of 13 consecutive days, according to the Storm Prediction Center. A total of 287 tornadoes were reported during this period.

April through June is peak tornado season in the United States, with May traditionally being the month with the most tornadoes. This month follows a particularly active April, when there were 300 tornadoes, the second highest number on record, according to the center. The absolute record was recorded in April 2011, with 757 tornadoes.

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