GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Severe weather rolled through West Michigan Thursday evening, causing damage and widespread power outages.
Storm damage reports have been most prevalent across portions of northern Kent County into much of Ionia County, where power outages have been the most prevalent.
Warnings were issued as the line of storms intensified. In Kent County, a tornado warning was issued. The National Weather Service will likely conduct damage surveys on Friday to determine whether storm damage was caused by straight-line winds or a tornado.
The line continued to intensify as it moved southeast, with widespread power outages across portions of Ionia County. Winds of 70-80 m.p.h. were reported in Eaton County as the same line rolled through.
NWS officials will also conduct damage surveys of another suspected tornado in northeast Ingham County.
WLNS, our sister-station in Lansing, reports that one person was killed after a large tree fell on a house in Lansing Thursday night.
DEADLY CRASH, CLOSED ROADS
Three people died in a crash where one car hydroplaned into another east of Cedar Springs during the severe weather, according to the Kent County Sheriff’s Office.
Storms caused downed trees and wires as well as wind damage across the area. The Kent County Sheriff’s Office has activated an Emergency Operations Center at the sheriff’s office building at 701 Ball Ave. in Grand Rapids. Deputies say Alpine, Plainfield and Grand Rapids townships appear to have been hit the hardest.
The Emergency Operations Center said it’s trying to establish a storm damage assessment. Residents are to keep responses specific to their property to reduce repeated reports. The survey can be filled out online.
Alpine Avenue near 6 Mile Road and 7 Mile Road in Alpine Township is impassible, the sheriff’s office said. Sgt. Eric Brunner with the Kent County Sheriff’s Office said a building was destroyed in that block and a roof from across the street was in the middle of Alpine Avenue. Drivers were warned to stay off the roadway.
“All emergency crews are there along with DTE and Consumers, so we have crews actively working on that,” said Brunner.
He said crews would be out around the clock and assess in the morning. If you have reports of damage that are not an emergency, Brunner said to wait to call the sheriff’s office until the morning because the call centers were “swamped with calls coming in.” If you have an emergency, call 911.
US-131 near Post Drive was blocked due to power lines across the freeway, Michigan State Police said, warning people not to try to move downed power lines.
The Grand Rapids Fire Department responded to reports of structure fires, including one at a home on Spencer Street off Lafayette Avenue NE.
Over 200,00 Michigan customers lost power from the storms. Consumers Energy said crews would out assessing the damage Friday morning with more than 1,000 people working around the clock to restore power through the weekend.
“This powerful storm did significant damage throughout the communities we serve. Consumers Energy is committed to getting the lights back on for all of our friends and neighbors safely and as quickly as possible,” Greg Salisbury, one of Consumers Energy’s Officers in Charge for the storm, said in a news release. “Our lineworkers will be working throughout the day to make repairs, and we appreciate our customers’ patience as they do this important work.”
A quiet and cooler pattern moves into West Michigan early next week.