Tornadoes Cause Damage in Michigan as Severe Storms Batter Midwest


Tornadoes ripped through communities in Michigan on Tuesday evening as severe storms battered the Midwest, officials said, bringing more destruction a day after tornadoes in the southern Plains killed at least one person and damaged dozens of homes.

Officials in Kalamazoo County in Southern Michigan said they were responding to a tornado that struck Portage, a city of about 50,000, leaving streets were littered with downed power lines, trees and building debris.

There was destruction throughout the county, including significant damage to a FedEx facility in Portage, according to Andrew Alspach, a spokesman for the Kalamazoo County Office of Emergency Management. It was unclear if there were any casualties, he added.

Another tornado warning was issued for Kalamazoo County, including Portage, even as emergency workers were responding to damage from the tornado that had hit earlier.

Officials in Kalamazoo County could not be immediately reached on Tuesday evening. Roughly 20,000 customers in the county were without power, according to

As storms moved through the region on Tuesday, the Weather Service issued a string of tornado warnings in cities across Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

About 13.5 million people in parts of Indiana, northern Kentucky and western Ohio were warned about an enhanced risk for severe thunderstorms through Tuesday evening, with the possibility of strong tornadoes and large hail, according to the National Weather Service’s Storm Prediction Center.

The roughly 60,000 square-mile area may also experience frequent lightning and strong wind gusts, according to the Weather Service.

A larger section of the Midwest, encompassing nearly 16 million people across portions of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, were facing a slight risk of severe weather on Tuesday.

The Weather Service also warned that storms passing over the region would produce heavy rain that may create some localized areas of flash flooding. Urban areas, roads, small streams and low-lying areas were most vulnerable, meteorologists said.

On Monday night, at least 15 tornadoes were reported to have struck parts of the Plains. One tornado that was up to two miles wide ripped through Barnsdall, Okla., a city about 40 miles northwest of Tulsa, killing one person, an Osage County official said.

One Osage County official said it had leveled about a third of the small city, which has a population of about 1,000, and caused multiple injuries. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that up to 40 homes in the town had been damaged.

The tornado also lifted the roof off a nursing home in Barnsdall, though all residents were accounted for with no injuries or deaths, officials said.

Mayor Johnny Kelley said one person was reported missing.

“We are going through the debris very thoroughly,” Mr. Kelley said at a news conference on Tuesday.

Considering the widespread destruction, it was “shocking” there were so few casualties, he said: “The devastation is pretty substantial.”

The tornado also caused power outages in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. But by early Tuesday, power had been largely restored.

In Bartlesville, Okla., about 20 miles southwest of Barnsdall, city officials said that emergency responders had rescued people trapped at a Hampton Inn and were recovering downed power lines early Tuesday. Only minor injuries had been reported.

Rescue operations were also ongoing at the Osage Nation Reservation, where officials warned residents to stay clear of the roadways and damaged areas.

Johnny Diaz, Judson Jones, John Yoon and Jesus Jiménez contributed reporting.

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