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article imageThree tornadoes hit Michigan leaving extensive damage

By Cynthia Trowbridge     Mar 17, 2012 in Environment
As three tornadoes hit Michigan Thursday evening over 100 homes were damaged or destroyed with at least 200 residents displaced. The slow moving storm produced large hail, heavy rain and high winds.
Two tornadoes hit a rural community in southeastern Michigan Thursday which sustained the most damage. A third tornado hit northwest of Detroit in Lapeer County near the town of Columbiaville.
In the Dexter area which was the the hardest hit had winds that were estimated at around 135 mph according to Meteorologist Steven Freitag that are based on the damage done. Freitag reports the path of the slow moving storm was around 10 miles as reported by reports the Associated Press was told by Freitag the storm was on the ground for about a half hour.
With warning sirens screaming people headed for basements or other places for safety. Miraculously there were no fatalities or serious injuries. reports 14-year-old Nick Gusfather was in the basement of his dad’s home in Dexter when the storm hit. He said, “At first I was taking pictures of the tornado, I thought it wouldn’t hit. And then I’m in the basement with my sister and glass completely shattered. The whole side of his house is ripped off, the hot tub, like, combusted and blew up, it’s just horrible."
Many organizations are in the Dexter area to help out including the Salvation Army.
Beth Fisher from WWJ Newsradio spoke with the director of the Salvation Army's disaster services, Chuck McDougall. McDougall said, “There is a shelter set up at the middle school and the Salvation Army also has a shelter set up in Ann Arbor where they housed 6 people last night that actually they weren’t from Dexter, but they were flooded out last night."
McDougall said they are providing food for those who need it. He said if anyone wants to donate money call (877) SAL-MICH. or go to reports Busch’s Market that is near the hardest hit area will take the frozen and refrigerated items for those who need it and store the items for them. Marla Booth, Busch's vice-president of marketing said, ”All we’re asking is that they give us their name and phone number. We’re tagging all the boxes & then shrink wrapping their food and then putting it in our freezer and refrigerator til they can take it back.” She said they were also donating water to people who need it.
In Lapeer County a home was knocked off it's foundation as Bill Boot, his wife Kim and son Brian, took cover in their basement after spotting a funnel cloud forming across the street. reports Bill boot said, "We saw a funnel cloud forming right across the road and that's all it took. The tornado picked up the house and I could see sky. I grabbed them and the top of the couch and we scooted against the wall. It was trying to pull us out. I could feel it pulling on us. We definitely thank God."
There were also two barns destroyed and downed power lines and trees in the area.
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