GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Days after an EF1 tornado touched down north of Grand Rapids as a line of thunderstorms tore across Michigan, crews are continuing to work to restore power to thousands of customers and clean up downed trees and damaged homes.
The tornado touched down at 8:15 p.m. in the area of Peach Ridge Avenue and 6 Mile Road and tracked northeast for 8.7 miles before lifting off at 8:30 p.m. near Rockford High School, the National Weather Service said. Winds were estimated at up to 110 mph.
ASSESSING DAMAGE AND CLEANUP
The Kent County Emergency Operations Center and the city of Grand Rapids Office of Emergency Management each set up online damage report surveys.
“The reason why this is important is because we are required as the Office of Emergency Management to gather damage assessment information from the storm and how our city has been impacted and provide that up to the state,” Grand Rapids Emergency Management Administrator Allison Farole explained to News 8 Friday afternoon. “That really dives into the decision-making around a state declaration and really helps move up the chain to meet thresholds to qualify for specific financial support.”
Downed trees or other debris in roads and sidewalks can be reported to Grand Rapids by calling 311. If you need access to resources including shelter, call 211.
The Kent County Road Commission said it will only remove debris from trees that grew within the right-of-way. Property owners are responsible for disposing of debris that originally came from trees on their property outside the right-of-way, the commission said. It does not plan to dispose of yard waste that has been moved to the side of the road or thrown into a ditch.
Grand Rapids said its yard waste drop-off site at 2001 Butterworth St. SW south of O’Brien Road would be open Friday through Sunday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Regular hours are Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Bring yard waste loose or in a paper bag; plastic bags are not permitted. The site is free, but you do have to show ID to prove residency.
Alpine Township and Plainfield Township have both opened temporary centers where residents can drop off yard and tree debris caused by the storm, the KCRC said. The Plainfield Township location, located at 3650 Versluis Park NE, will be open Saturday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. The Alpine Township location, located at 5580 Alpine Ave. in Comstock Park, will be open Monday through Friday from 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Both sites will only accept “green” brush and tree waste, according to the commission. They are intended only for residents, who will need to show ID.
There is also a storm waste drop-off center in Cannon Township, located at 6878 Belding Rd. NE, that will be open 24 hours a day Sunday through Saturday. As with the others, it will only accept yard waste and tree debris. The Cannon Township center is available to anyone who needs the service, and it will also offer water, phone charging and bathrooms, the KCRC said.
Around 200,000 Consumers Energy customers around the state lost power as a result of the storms, with leaders blaming the tornadoes and strong straight-lined winds of up to 80 mph. As of around 8 p.m. Sunday, with repair crews working steadily, Consumers Energy said it had restored power to over 80% of them, leaving around 40,000 without power.
Outages by county as of around 9:25 p.m. Sunday:
- Ionia County: 3,252
- Kent County: 5,735
Consumers said crews were “making every effort” to bring power back to schools Sunday. It will contact any schools where power cannot be restored until late because of severe damage.
Consumers advised people to turn to its interactive power outage map for updates on when crews were dispatched to their area and for updated restoration times, which may change as crews get a better idea of the kind of damage they need to fix.
Drivers were advised to watch out for power crews at work. If you see one, slow down and go around.
When a traffic light is not working, treat the intersection as a four-way stop.
Always stay away from downed power lines, even if it doesn’t look like they are energized. Call 911 and Consumers to report downed lines.
“If a community member is being impacted by a tree down that has wires intertwined in them, first off, don’t touch it. Don’t try to move that tree, don’t try to do anything with it. It is a safety hazard. Immediately call 911 and report that regardless if you think the wire is live or not,” the Grand Rapids emergency management administrator said.
~ News 8’s Blake Harms, David Horak, Gabrielle Phifer, Kyle Mitchell, Demetrios Sanders, Meghan Bunchman, Anna Skog, Katie Rosendale, and Michael Oszust contributed to this report.