Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Multiple Twisters Swarm Through Area Near Flint, MI (Updated)

May 28, 2013 - Developing - A tornado has caused heavy and "significant" damage in and around Goodrich, Michigan tonight. A confirmed tornado was located near Goodrich at 9:58 PM EDT. Goodrich is about 12 miles southeast of Flint in Genesee County (map).  Trees and power lines were downed and homes were leveled in several communities as multiple tornadoes hit through the county. Genesee County has been called the "Tornado Alley of Michigan," with more recorded twisters than any other since 1950.

Update, May 29: No injuries have been reported. It is not yet certain how many tornadoes were spawned from this single storm cell. The National Weather Service confirms that six twisters hit the area.

NOTE: We have found NO confirmed reports of people being trapped in Goodrich Middle School or any other school. There were earlier, unconfirmed reports on Twitter of people being trapped in Goodrich Middle School and other buildings, with an unknown number of houses being destroyed.

Update, May 29:The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down around 10:00 PM near Goodrich High School, southeast of Flint in Genesee County. "A half-hour earlier, it said winds knocked down a home about 5 miles south of Swartz Creek," reports AP today. "Homes also were reported destroyed or damaged in the Fenton and Mount Morris Township areas."

Some Flint-area schools closed Wednesday, including Goodrich Area Schools and Beecher Community School District. During the confusion of the storms, there were tweets about "trapped" people in the school were based on the fact that power lines next to Goodrich High School were knocked down in the storm and some of the people inside the  school were afraid of live electrical wires outside. There are no reported injuries of staff or students.

"Residents and onlookers began to fill the parking lot of Goodrich High School," reports Mlive.com, "as police closed the road to deal with the downed power lines and damage to a residential pole barn on Hegel Road. Police told the crowd that nobody was seriously injured at the scene and their primary concern was to remove the downed power lines.There was no visible damage to the high school and police said no damage was done to other schools, noting that custodial workers were still working in the building of Oaktree Elementary."

The National Weather Service reported "several funnel cloud sightings, including a tornado that landed near Goodrich High School southeast of Flint. No injuries were immediately reported," according to AP.

Nearby Mt. Morris Township, about six miles northwest of Flint (map), also suffered damage. There are reports of widespread power outagesA funnel cloud near Beecher, just east of Mt. Morris (map), is seen in the video above. Rescue workers in Beecher are going door to door tonight in search of people who might be injured or trapped in damages houses and buildings.

Fenton Township, 10 miles south of Flint (map), suffered damage and many residents say it was "definitely a tornado."