One dead & 44 injured as tornado rips through Gaylord, Michigan, leaving ‘catastrophic’ path of destruction

One dead & 44 injured as tornado rips through Gaylord, Michigan, leaving ‘catastrophic’ path of destruction

ONE person has died and at least 44 others have been injured after storms battered a rural area of Michigan on Friday night.

The tornado touched down in the small city of Gaylord at 3pm leaving a ‘catastrophic’ path of destruction according to officials.

A tornado in Gaylord, Michigan has caused 'catastrophic' damage, officials said
A tornado in Gaylord, Michigan has caused ‘catastrophic’ damage, officials saidCredit: AP:Associated Press
Many businesses and homes were damaged in the Michigan tornado
Many businesses and homes were damaged in the Michigan tornadoCredit: AP:Associated Press
Images showed toppled trees as state of emergency was declared
Images showed toppled trees as state of emergency was declaredCredit: AP

The fatality was confirmed last night as 23 injured patients were taken to Otsego Memorial Hospital and 12 to Grayling Hospital, according to Munson Healthcare spokesman Brian Lawson.

Another 8 patients were being treated at other hospitals, he told CNN.

Officials have not released any details on how the person was killed or the severity of the injuries to others, according to Fox 17.

However, Lawson did say “things have stabilized a bit” following the initial tornado touchdown.

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Images showed how the severe storms with isolated tornadoes toppled trees and power lines and left homes and businesses damaged.

Last night, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Otsego County following the tornado.

“Michiganders are tough. We are resilient. We will do what it takes to rebuild. There’s no challenge we can’t get through together,” Whitmer said.

In addition, officials say the city is under a curfew through 8am Saturday. Gaylord is without power and the local hospital is at capacity, according to reports.

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Lieutenant Jim Gorno of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources told CNN, “It is a busy downtown area, and it went right through it,” he said of the tornado.

“We aren’t used to it up here,” he added. “We don’t have sirens like in other parts of the country.”

Michigan State Police tweeted an advisory to residents, writing “Trees and power lines blocking roadways. Multiple homes and businesses damaged.

“Avoid the Gaylord area. Emergency crews are responding.”

State police also tweeted that those injured in the tornado were being transported to local hospitals.

Whitmer released an initial statement via Twitter as word of the tornado spread.

“My heart goes out to the families and small businesses impacted by the tornado and severe weather in Gaylord,” she wrote.

“To the entire Gaylord community—Michigan is with you. We will do what it takes to rebuild.”

Meanwhile, in New Jersey, a hailstorm left ping-pong and avocado-sized hail as wild storms swept through the Cherry Hill area.

The Township of Hazlet in New Jersey is responding to down wires and poles.

“Traffic lights are out along Hway 35, near Hazlet Ave. and Holmdel Rd intersections. We are also aware of wires/poles down in the Raritan Valley area and along Beers St,” according to a tweet and per the Hazlet Police Department.

The National Weather Service in Mount Holly issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Central Ocean County in southern New Jersey earlier on Friday. Winds of up to 60 miles per hour were expected.

Residents shared photos of giant ping-pong and avocado-sized hail that fell on Friday afternoon as wicked storms moved through the area. Twitter user Chip Murphy called the storm “intense.”

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The tri-state area is expecting a major heat wave this weekend.

Temperatures in the region are expected to reach the 90s on Saturday and Sunday.

Michigan State Police are providing updates to residents via Twitter
Michigan State Police are providing updates to residents via TwitterCredit: AP:Associated Press
A curfew is in place until 8am on Saturday morning
A curfew is in place until 8am on Saturday morningCredit: AP
Ping-pong-sized hail also fell in New Jersey Friday evening
Ping-pong-sized hail also fell in New Jersey Friday eveningCredit: Twitter/@ChipMurphy

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Caitlin Hornik

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