Rare Tornado Rips Through Michigan Town, State Of Emergency Declared

Photo: Michigan State Police Department

A rare tornado ripped through the small northern Michigan community of Gaylord on Friday. The tornado flipped vehicles and tore roofs off buildings, leaving at least two people dead and 40 others injured, according to FOX News.

Jim Keysor, a Gaylord-based meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said extreme winds are uncommon because the Great Lakes suck energy out of storms — especially in the spring time when the lakes are cold. The last time Gaylord suffered extreme damage from a wind storm was in 1998.

"Many kids and young adults would have never experienced any direct severe weather if they had lived in Gaylord their entire lives," he said.

The tornado was confirmed to be moving across northern Michigan on Friday at about 3:40 p.m. It traveled for about 15 minutes. In that time, at least one large building collapsed while several cars were flipped and destroyed. A mobile trailer park was also heavily damaged.

The National Weather service rated the tornado in Gaylord an EF3 with max winds of 140 mph.

Gaylord is a community of about 4,200 people about 230 miles northwest of Detroit. Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency and allowed for additional resources to be used in the recovery effort.

"My heart goes out to the families and small businesses impacted by the tornado and severe weather in Gaylord," Whitmer said Friday evening.

"I have declared a state of emergency for Otsego County to rush resources to the affected areas, and the State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to coordinate our state’s response," she added.

In addition, she shared a heartfelt message to the Gaylord community via Twitter. Read her statement below.

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