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2 dead; A city in northern Michigan is being cleared of a rare tornado National

The roofs and walls on the busy business site turned to tangled rubble. Mobile homes were destroyed. Tornadoes are so rare in northern Michigan that Gaylord does not have a siren system to warn people of dangerous weather.

The city of 4,200 residents went on cleaning on Saturday, the day after the tornado with winds of 140 miles per hour hitting Gaylord, killing two people, injuring more than 40 and shocking residents who are more familiar with snowstorms than spring storms.

The utility company has reported great progress in restoring electricity, although thousands of people are still short of electricity. Some roads were left clogged with pillars and other debris.

“We need to clear a lot of debris,” said State Police Lt. Derrick Carroll.

Two people, aged 70, who lived in Nottingham Forest’s mobile home park, have died, state police said. It was one of the first objects affected by the tornado, to which the National Weather Service rated EF3 on a scale of 0 to 5.

“There the trailers were picked up and turned over on top of each other. It’s just a very big garbage field, “said Chris Martin, Otsego County Fire Chief. Martin said the crews used heavy equipment to conduct a secondary inspection of the area.

He said there was “probably 95% destruction.”

Gaylord, about 230 miles (370 kilometers) northwest of Detroit, is a popular destination for skiers and snowmobiles in the winter and golfers in the summer. It has no tornado sirens, although anyone with a cell phone received a “red code” warning from the weather service about 10 minutes before the tornado hit, Carol said.

A video posted online shows a dark funnel approaching as anxious drivers stared at local roads or drove slowly.

“Everyone in Michigan is going to embrace these families and everyone who is working together to rebuild here,” Michigan Lt. Garlin Gilchrist said during the visit.

87-year-old Betty Wisniewski escaped injury, although the tornado severely damaged her home, said Steve Wisniewski’s son, who lives next door.

“Fortunately, she was fine – a rosary in her hand,” he said from the stairs, attaching the plastic to the windows. “She prayed. It’s pretty weird. “

Gaylord Police Chief Frank Kleis said the immediate aftermath of the tornado was difficult for those who responded quickly.

“We were looking for places where we knew the occupiers. We called them by name, ”Kleis said. “It’s much more personal when our officers know the people who live in these houses.”

John Boris of the Gaylord Meteorological Service said the tornado passed through the community in about three minutes, but was on the ground in the region for 26 minutes – a “fairly long” time.

“We don’t have many tornadoes,” said Boris, a science and operations officer. “In Michigan in general we have an average of about 15 or so (per year), and more are in the lower state than in the north. It’s pretty unusual. “

Indeed, the last notable storm was in 1998, when a rectilinear wind of 100 miles per hour struck Gaylord.

Boris said Friday’s warm air with temperatures of 80 degrees and strong winds moving east across Lake Michigan were key conditions that caused the tornado.

A link to climate change is probably not appropriate, he said.

“It’s very difficult to attribute something so specific to such a large-scale signal,” Boris said. “If we had it more often, it could be a signal.”

White reported from Detroit. Associated Press writer John Flasher contributed to this report.

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