Damage in Gaines Twp. and power outages near Kalamazoo after storms

Kent County

GAINES TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — A southern Kent County neighborhood was littered with debris and several homes were damaged after storms blew through West Michigan on Saturday afternoon.

Photos and video sent to News 8 by viewers near Byron Center showed toppled trees, one home with a partially missing roof and ripped-off siding and another with a dented garage door in the area of 100th St. and Eastern Ave., just east of US-131.

Melanie Nipper and her family were watching TV inside their home when they suddenly saw a bunch of objects flying around in their yard Saturday afternoon.

“Furniture, debris came swirling past the windows,” Nipper said. “We hesitated, thought it was just going to die down. It was not.”

After the storm calmed down, she and her family saw downed trees and furniture from other homes in their yard in the Preservation Lakes subdivision. The leg of a chair left a bullet-sized hole on the door of their truck. 

“We did notice somebody’s roof was in the road,” Nipper said. “So, we went, ‘Whose roof is it?’ And we went out in back and looked. Sure enough, it was our roof.”

Nipper said water was running down inside their home and they were looking for a roofer to help them address their problem. 

The Nippers moved to Michigan in November from North Carolina, where they also experienced weather-related damage to their home. 

“Hurricane Matthew came through and a tree went through our roof then,” says Nipper. “I talked my husband into moving back to Michigan for our grandkids.”

“He’s kind of in shock that this happened,” she said.

Other neighbors News 8 spoke with were also shocked by the damage done to their homes. 

Caleb Hartman took his kids down to his basement when he realized the severity of the storm. 

“We went down to basement and as quick as it took us to get down the steps, it was done. But it did enough damage in that time,” Hartman said. “Just crazy.”

His home suffered siding damage and there was an uprooted tree in his yard.  

“We’ve never experienced anything like this, we’ve been here three years,” he said.

The National Weather Service issued a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Kent and Ottawa counties around 4:30 p.m. Saturday, but that warning expired at 5:15 p.m. Currently, there are no severe weather alerts for West Michigan.

While power was restored in Gaines Township after a brief outage Saturday evening, thousands were still without it in Kalamazoo County going into Sunday morning. As of 9 a.m. Sunday, Consumers Energy reported that all outages in the Kalamazoo area have been resolved.

Despite all the damage in the neighborhood, no injuries have been reported. 

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