Recovery efforts continue following a deadly tornado

GAYLORD, Mich. (WNEM) – As of Sunday morning, Michigan State Police said no people were missing and power was restored to 99 percent of customers following a deadly tornado in northern Michigan.

Consumers Energy said 15,000 customers were affected by the storm and dozens of power lines and poles were torn down.

Two people were killed in the rare May 20 tornado that damaged homes, roads and small businesses. As of May 21, no other deaths have been reported.

Lt. Derrick Carroll said both victims were in their seventies and lived in Nottingham Forest Mobile Home Park.

On Sunday afternoon, state police said Nottingham residents will be able to return to their properties after 1pm. To enter, residents must show proof of identity and proof of residence.

Photo by MSP Aviation of the devastation in the Nottingham Forest mobile home park in Gaylord.
Photo by MSP Aviation of the devastation in the Nottingham Forest mobile home park in Gaylord.(Michigan State Police)

Investigators said the first victim was not found dead, but the second victim was. Otsego County Fire Chief Chris Martin said the mobile home park had suffered a huge amount of damage and about 95% of the park was destroyed.

The State Police said there are currently 44 victims in the area and surrounding hospitals.

The State Police has set up a toll-free number to report missing persons. If you need to report a missing person, please call 989-732-7858.

A report of the National Meteorological Service classified the storm as an EF-3 tornado. Several thunderstorms were tracked in northern Michigan, some of which produced a large hailstorm in some areas.

A weather balloon launch conducted on Friday before the storm detected a rare environment that would create damaging winds, very large hail and tornadoes.

The National Weather Service estimates that wind surges reached around 150 mph and the tornado traveled 16.6 miles before lifting a mile northeast of Sparr.

Great hail in Presque Isle County. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Adamski
Great hail in Presque Isle County. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Adamski(National Meteorological Service)

John Boris, a meteorologist at Gaylord’s National Weather Service Station, said the tornado was very unusual. According to Boris, the tornado remained on the ground for 26 minutes, moved at about 55 miles per hour, and took about three minutes to travel through the city.

Of the roughly 15 tornadoes that usually hit Michigan in a single year, Boris said Gaylord rarely sees strong wind events and most are in the downstate.

Lt. Governor Garlin Gilchrist visited the storm site on Saturday afternoon to assess the damage.

“Everything from food, to infant formula, to diapers, we will make sure people have everything they need,” the lieutenant. said Governor Garlin Gilchrist. “This is what we do, we watch each other’s backs. We stand for each other “.

Gilchrist said he is praying for every single soul that has been hit by the storm and hopes it will continue to make progress in its healing.

Lieutenant Governor Garlin Gilchrist II hosted a press conference on recovery efforts after visiting the affected areas.(Michigan State Police)

On Saturday afternoon, the State Police activated 211, which residents can use to obtain resources or self-report damage to homes. The State Police said residents should not file a police report for vehicle damage caused by the tornado. Instead, residents should contact an insurance agent to file a claim.

Gaylord Police Department said insurance agencies will have to inspect damaged properties as they are.

Local police also said that the loose vegetation can be taken to the Gaylord Department of Public Works. Bulk building materials can be brought to the Ostego County Fairgrounds parking lot.

The Gaylord Police Department is also warning residents about contractors, saying repairs are needed but that contractors occasionally defraud property owners during disasters.

Gaylord E-Free Church offers hot meals, diapers and hygiene items. Medical services and hospitalization are also available. You can call 989-732-2647 with questions.

If you’d like to help residents affected by the tornado, Ostego County United Way is raising donations link.