GAYLORD, Mich. – At least two people have been killed and 44 others injured when a tornado touched down in Gaylord, Michigan on Friday, according to authorities.
Both deceased in the tornado were in their 70s and were found in the mobile home park in Gaylord.
Governor Gretchen Whitmer arrived in the Michigan city on Friday night and declared a state of emergency following the area’s tornado and other severe storms.
The damage is severe and authorities say it will take days to assess how bad the damage is.
The National Metereological Service has confirmed that a tornado moved through the area around 3:48 p.m. on May 20.
At Saturday’s news conference, officials say the tornado was on the ground for about 26 minutes.
There is a missing persons hotline that can be contacted at 989-705-3780.
Consumer Energy claims that 9,000 are without power statewide as of Saturday morning.
Michigan State Trooper Derrick Carroll wants to remind area residents that several secondary streets are closed due to downed power lines and debris.
If you see a downline, please contact Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050
Gaylord Police Chief Frank Claeys thanked first responders Saturday morning.
According to a news release from the Whitmer Administration, state resources are available for recovery efforts in the area affected by the tornado.
“I want to thank our brave first responders, our local police and firefighters, as well as the Michigan State Police who have gone out of their way to keep people safe,” said Senator Jim Stamas. “It is crucial that people stay indoors if possible and stay away from downed power lines or debris. Let’s hug our families a little closer and work together to rebuild and recover from this storm together.”
Authorities say the damage is substantial as injured people have been transported to various hospitals after the emergency center in Gaylord stopped accepting patience due to a lack of power and running on emergency generators.
There were at least 12 houses that were demolished because of the tornado.
A local church in Gaylord provided lodging for those in need Friday night.
The E-Free Church was housing about 10 people while cleanup was taking place the night of the natural disaster. The church was so impressive that the Red Cross it was installed and ready to take people in just two hours after the storm.
The church provided wifi and power to those who needed it.
“I saw power poles snapped in half,” Pastor Scott Distler said. “You basically had to navigate like a war zone. You had to navigate around things just to try to get to her house and try to get her out of the house and into my house. And then I went down into the city a little bit and started seeing all the damage to the buildings. I didn’t even get to the worst part, but it was like driving through a war zone.”
Read more: At Least 1 Dead, 44 Injured When Tornado Touches Down In Gaylord: Everything We Know So Far
Consumer Energy will provide meals to Gaylord residents on Saturday from 4-7 p.m.
The company will be Gaylord’s Genter University on Livingston Boulevard and will be dishing out grills from Smoke Show LLC and Twin Turbo BBQ.
Below is a statement from Governor Gretchen Whitmer as she declared a state of emergency following the rare tornado that struck Gaylord on May 20, 2022.
I declared a state of emergency for Otsego County to send resources to affected areas and the State Emergency Operations Center was activated to coordinate our state’s response. Our state is grateful for the first responders and utility workers who are working hard to keep everyone safe. Michiganders are tough. We are resilient. And there is no challenge that we cannot overcome together.
Governor Gretechen Whitmer
Verify: Images and videos show considerable tornado damage in the Gaylord area
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