Tornadoes, severe storms rip through southeast Mich.
"You don't think this stuff happens in neighborhoods, you think it only happens in farmland"
By, Josh Katzenstein, Mike Wilkinson and Mark Hicks
The Detroit News
DEXTER, Mich. — Jen Klimkowicz, her infant son and her sister-in-law spent Thursday huddled in fear in their basement as a tornado swirled overhead.
The pair emerged to find their home largely spared of damage. That wasn't the case elsewhere in the town, where 13 homes were destroyed.
"We still have a roof, thank God," said Klimkowicz, 34, walking around the street holding her 6-month-old son Cole after the twister passed.
Her sister-in-law said the storm was unbelievable.
"You don't think this stuff happens in neighborhoods, you think it only happens in farmland," said Carrie Klimkowicz.
The tornado that touched down Thursday in this small community damaged 100 homes, littered streets with splintered wood, personal belongings and downed trees, and left thousands without power. It was one of three reported twisters in southeastern Michigan, part of a slow-moving storm system packing large hail, heavy rain and high winds that swept from Washtenaw and Lapeer counties and south to Monroe County.
No major injuries were reported.
Marc Breckenridge, director of Emergency Management for the Washtenaw County, said the storm system stayed for more than an hour.
"It was the first time in 20 years I've seen a storm stall out over my community and stay there," he said.
There were reports of tornadoes touching down in Monroe County's Ida Township and northwest Lapeer County, near Columbiaville, National Weather Service meteorologist Amos Dodson said. Trees and power lines were downed in Lapeer in a storm that packed wind gusts up to 70 mph and 2-inch hail, he said.
A tornado also was spotted in Monroe County's Dundee, east of Lulu, between Geiger and Lewis Avenue, the village of Dundee tweeted. Fire Capt. Jim Hemwall of Monroe County's Frenchtown Township said a house in the town of Exeter was struck by lightning and debris swirled around another in Dundee.