DETROIT – Metro Detroit is once again reeling from damage from heavy rains.
The southeastern Michigan area, still recovering from flooding just eight days ago, accumulated an additional 1 to 2 inches of rain during a storm surge on Saturday afternoon and evening, said Megan Varcie, meteorologist with the National Weather Service White Lake Township, causing flooding on M-10 and other areas.
The National Weather says tornadoes hit near Detroit and Flint on Saturday night.
The two EF-1 tornadoes hit Clayton Township in Genesee County around 6:30 p.m. and Oakland County around 7:45 p.m., the weather service said on Sunday.
Damage from the two storms matched winds of 100 mph that hit Oakland County around 7:45 p.m., the weather service said on Sunday. The two tornadoes traveled approximately 1.8 miles, damaging trees. One person was slightly injured.
About 121,328 DTE customers were without power on Sunday at 2:45 p.m., according to the DTE outage center.
Although most of the flooding was cleared overnight, all southbound lanes of the M-10 were still blocked Sunday morning, according to the Michigan Department of Transportation. M-10 fully reopened in the afternoon.
Other tornadoes awaiting confirmation
The weather service received reports of tornadoes Saturday night in Port Austin, Armada and Oakland County. The tornado in White Lake has been confirmed by the weather service, but the other two locations are still pending confirmation. Varcie said on Sunday that the weather service was sending a storm investigation team to each location to check, examine the damage and determine the intensity.
“The difference between your regular thunderstorms and tornado thunderstorms is going to be the amount of wind shear in the atmosphere,” Varcie said. “So that’s basically, if you can get a spinning thunderstorm, that we call a supercell. If you can get rotation in thunderstorms, it makes conditions more favorable for tornado formation. ”
Oakland County, which encompasses metro Detroit, has received reports of tornadoes, flooding, blocked roads and structural damage to homes and businesses, according to a press release.
“We are continuing to monitor the situation to ensure the safety of all residents of Oakland County,” Oakland County Director Dave Coulter said in the statement. “We urge all residents to report fallen cables and stay away from standing water.”
A Twitter user shared a photo of a BP station in Madison Heights with its awning overturned.
DTE had more than 500 teams in the field and “will work around the clock to restore power to affected customers as quickly and safely as possible,” the utility said on its website.
Most of the Consumers Energy customers in Michigan who lost power on Saturday night got it back on Sunday morning, spokesman Brian Wheeler said. But about 7,098 customers were still without power on Sunday afternoon. Wheeler said most of the outages are scattered, occurring in Genesee County, as well as Saginaw, Bay City and Midland.
“The biggest problem in cases like this is the gusts of wind,” Wheeler said. “Usually when you have winds up to 50 miles per hour, this is where you start to see not only trees near power lines, but entire trees or branches can fall a great distance. ”
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Outside Detroit, the Township of Armada has declared a state of emergency and faces significant damage to homes and businesses after being hit by an alleged tornado on Saturday night, the Macomb County manager said, Mark Hackel, at a Sunday afternoon press conference.
No injuries or deaths were reported, he said.
First responders gain access to damage
Hackel said the National Weather Service was on the ground, investigating as he spoke, but that he and city officials believed it was a tornado based on the debris and wind models.
Michigan State Police Lt. Mike Shaw said those who are not from the area should not come “just to take a look” and that it is difficult for first responders to do what they need to do with visitors trying to get a glimpse of the damage.
Each speaker at the conference emphasized how important each unit was in helping to mitigate the impact of the tornado and underlined the value of community.
“If responding to emergencies or disasters was an Olympic sport, this team here behind me would have won gold,” Hackel said.
The biggest challenge the village faces is the lack of electricity – it’s a small town and it’s hard to keep good food, according to John Paterek, supervisor of the Township of Armada.
DTE spokeswoman Stephanie Beres said it was unclear exactly how long it would take crews to restore power, but added that it would likely be Monday at the earliest.
“We currently have over 100 staff on the ground working to assess the damage, restore power where we can and continue to clean up the mess created by last night’s weather conditions,” Beres says. “We will continue to work around the clock to restore power as quickly as possible. We hope to get the fire station and some of our intensive care facilities, the nursing home just down the street, back up and running as soon as possible.
The Detroiters should have a little break from the rain over the next few days, Varcie said, with forecasts calling for highs in the ’80s and sunny skies through Tuesday.
Contribution: Associated Press.
Follow Emma Stein on Twitter: @_emmastein.