FLINT, Mich. (WOOD) - A band of late May storms set off warnings in West Michigan, but the damage was done on the east side of the state.
In all, six tornados hit the Flint area.
A confirmed EF-2 on the north edge of Flint, packing winds of 105 miles an hour, cut a path of destruction 300 yards wide and over two miles long.
Billy Anthony was in his shop on North Saginaw Street. He told 24 Hour News Eight the first sign of trouble was torrential rain.
"I'm talking about too hard to even go to your car," Anthony said.
The rain stopped. The air grew still and humid.
"And when I went to look out, the door started shaking," Anthony said as he grabbed the aluminum overhead garage door and shook it. "Making than kind of noise,"
Ceiling tiles flew as the roof above Anthony began peeling away.
Anthony's pickup was parked in the building just a few steps away. That old, built-in-Flint Chevy became Anthony's lifeboat. He got under it and rode out the storm.
Anthony told 24 Hour News 8 what was going through his mind.
"Just thinkin' about the Lord, asking him to protect me...that's about it," Anthony said.
The same system produced warnings, but no confirmed touchdowns, in West Michigan on Tuesday night.
Storm Team 8 Meteorologist Matt Kirkwood said those rotations could have easily created tornados in the southern part of West Michigan, but they stayed aloft, and the area dodged a bullet.
Kirkwood said there's a notion that the cooler waters of Lake Michigan serve as a buffer to the creation of tornados in West Michigan.
But that isn't always the case. Ignoring the warnings can be dangerous.
In Flint, not far from the commercial strip on North Saginaw Street, Debbie Reyna and her family cleaned up the mess around her home.
"That's my car." she said, pointing to an older model Cadillac crushed by a large tree branch.
"And we have trees down on the backyard and shingles off and siding off," Reyna said, "But everybody's safe. That's the main thing."
The home was once owned by Renya's grandparents, and survived a devastating tornado in 1953.
People in Flint still talk about the Beecher Tornado, named after the small community sandwiched between the Flint city limits and the small town of Mount Morris to the north.
Still ranked as one of the nation's deadliest, the tornado killed 116 people and injured over 800.
The 60th anniversary of the Beecher Tornado will come less than two weeks after Tuesday's tornadoes on June 8.
For Flint residents like Homer Morris who survived the 1953 storm, Tuesday's tornado struck up some bad memories.
"The first thing that came to my mind was 'I hope nobody get hurt or nobody got killed,' " Morris said. "So far, from what I'm hearing nobody got hurt, so that's a blessing."
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