Early morning tornado in Grand Blanc rated as EF-2

GRAND BLANC, Mich. (WNEM) – Clean-up is now underway in Grand Blanc and the surrounding area after severe weather and a tornado touched down around 1:12 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 28.

Our First Alert Weather Team said the tornado was on the ground for about 15 minutes. It’s confirmed by a debris signature on radar, which developed very quickly.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said the tornado touched ground at 1:12 a.m. on W. Grand Blanc Road and it lifted at 1:22 a.m. on W. Atlas Road.

The tornado has been rated as an EF-2 with peak winds at 115 miles per hour, the NWS said, adding the length of the tornado’s path was 5.7 miles with a width of 450 yards.

According to the NWS, this is only the second time a tornado has been observed in February over Southeast Michigan. The previous tornado occurred on Feb. 28, 1974 in southwest Wayne County.

According to the Grand Blanc Police Department, the tornado touched down in Grand Blanc near Dort Highway and Reid Road. The tornado path proceeded east through Grand Blanc City, Indian Hill Subdivision, the Grand Blanc Commons, Kings Pointe Subdivision, through Perry and Belsay roads, and then into Atlas Township.

In the NEST camera, you can see the severe weather moving in and hear the tornado sirens blaring.
Video courtesy of Mike Joseph
A tornado touched down early Wednesday morning around 1:10 a.m. in the Grand Blanc area
A tornado touched down early Wednesday morning around 1:10 a.m. in the Grand Blanc area(WNEM)
A tornado touched down early Wednesday morning around 1:10 a.m. in the Grand Blanc area
A tornado touched down early Wednesday morning around 1:10 a.m. in the Grand Blanc area(WNEM)

According to police, several large trees were knocked down and debris from damaged buildings were scattered and thrown into the path of the storm. The downed trees damaged several houses in Indian Hill and uprooted several gas lines.

The Grand Blanc Police Department, who said officers observed the tornado from their patrol cars, and Grand Blanc fire department responded and evacuated several residents to the fire department.

Police and fire personnel are still out checking with affected residents and assessing damage, police said.

“We know people would like to see the impact of this storm, but we ask that everyone gives emergency crews the space they need to get the resources back to our residents. So please, if you do not live in the affected area stay away since power lines are down and wait until it is safe,” police said.

Police said Consumers Energy responded to gas leaks and made repairs, and gas was successfully shut off at 9:40 a.m. Consumers Energy said it expects to have power restored by Wednesday afternoon.

Police also said residents who were earlier evacuated were allowed to return home, however there are still numerous reports of wires down in the area.

According to police, no deaths or injuries have been reported.

“The Grand Blanc area was struck by a devastating tornado last night. Our hearts go out to all those affected by this storm. We are very grateful that we did not have any reported injuries or fatalities from such a horrific tornado,” said Scott Bennett, Grand Blanc Township supervisor. “Thank you to our Township Fire and Police departments who have been assisting residents throughout the night and are ready to help wherever needed.”

People of the Grand Blanc area are reporting house and building damage, fallen trees and downed power lines. Grand Blanc, Swartz Creek and Owosso schools have either canceled or delayed classes for today for either building damage or power outages.

“Some buildings at Dort and Reid are damaged. The warehouse building is damaged,” Lt. Todd Gilbert, Grand Blanc Township Police Department, said to TV5 on Wednesday morning.

The police department is asking you to find alternative routes for several roads, which include:

  • Dort Highway and Reid Road
  • Dort Highway and Grand Blanc Road (Grand Blanc Road is open)
  • Dort Highway and Gibson Road
  • Reid Road and Porter Road

If you come across downed power lines, trees or other debris in the road, smell natural gas, or need other emergency assistance, please call 911.

The National Weather Service (NWS) said it’s planning to send its storm survey team to Grand Blanc late Wednesday morning or early Wednesday afternoon. Its report comes with an official EF rating.

A tornado was also reported in the city of Marshall, Michigan on the west side of the state.

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First appeared on www.wnem.com

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