Weather Service Confirms Southwest Michigan Hit by Small Tornado

April 11, 2008

A small tornado was to blame for damaging a barn housing some horses and knocking down trees in southwestern Michigan, according to the National Weather Service.

No injuries were reported but more than 6,500 Consumers Energy customers lost power at some point early Wednesday, the utility company said. Most were in Kent and Muskegon counties.

Power was expected to be restored to all but the most rural customers by Wednesday evening, said Terry DeDoes, a Consumers Energy spokesman.

Janis Laurens, a weather service meteorologist in Grand Rapids, said the worst of the storm damage appeared to happen in Allegan County’s Gunplain Township and Barry County’s Prairieville Township just north and northeast of Kalamazoo.

Several horses were trapped inside the damaged barn for a time before being freed. Fallen trees knocked down power lines and blocked at least two roads, authorities said.

A storm-damage investigator from the weather service went to the area and determined that the damage was caused by an F-0 or F-1 twister.

In southern Kent County’s Gaines Township, a woman and her 5-year-old twin daughters escaped a lightning-sparked fire that destroyed their two-story house.

Angela Westrate, a Kelloggsville High School teacher, told The Grand Rapids Press that lightning struck her home around 1:30 p.m., causing a fire that smoldered in the attic before erupting into flames around 5 a.m.

She and her daughters, Morgan and Mikayla, decided to sleep in the living room because of the storm. Westrate, whose husband, Todd, was out of town on business, said if she and her girls had slept in their bedrooms, “We’d be dead.”

Was this article valuable?

Here are more articles you may enjoy.