State of emergency declared for St. Joseph, Branch, Hillsdale counties


FILE- This March 2, 2021 file photo provided by the Michigan Office of the Governor, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer addresses the state during a speech in Lansing, Mich. Gov. Whitmer on Wednesday, March 31, 2021, doubled Michigan’s daily COVID-19 vaccination goal to 100,000 shots. She cited continuous week-over-week increases in vaccine allotments the state is receiving and an expanded number of providers who can administer doses. (Michigan Office of the Governor via AP, File)

LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Branch, St. Joseph and Hillsdale counties Tuesday, following severe thunderstorms and winds exceeding 60 miles per hour on Aug. 11 and Aug. 12.

The three counties experienced winds that caused damage to trees, property and infrastructure — resulting in power outages throughout the lower peninsula of Michigan.

By declaring a state of emergency, all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area has been made available to the counties, Whitmer said in a release.

The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies. 

“Thank you to the first responders and line-workers who have worked diligently to keep our residents safe and restore power to our communities,” Whitmer said in a release. “We will continue to work closely with Branch, Hillsdale and St. Joseph counties and provide needed resources to support recovery efforts.” 

Branch County issued a local state of emergency on Aug. 13 after a thunderstorm caused widespread damage. On Aug. 14, St. Joseph County issued a local state of emergency after severe storms caused power outages and debris that slowed emergency response. Hillsdale County issued a local state of emergency on Aug. 16 after thunderstorms came through the area.

All three counties requested a declaration from the governor.

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