Tornado confirmed in Portland, shelter to open – Detroit Free Press

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PORTLAND – A tornado cut through the city Monday, damaging numerous buildings, churches and more than 50 homes, but no one was injured.

Jim Maczko of the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids said the tornado was classified as an EF-1 with winds up to 100 m.p.h. The funnel cloud touched down about two miles northwest of the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Bridge Street and was on the ground for 10 minutes.

The tornado sprang up so quickly that forecasters didn’t recognize the radar signature until it had already touched down, Maczko said. Those types of “pop up” storms are typical for Michigan, he said.

“It spun up so quickly … it was virtually undetectable on radar,” said Maczko, warning coordination meteorologist for the weather service. “We were very fortunate that there were no lives lost.”

Portland city officials were working with county and state officials to have a state of emergency declared, City Manager Tutt Gorman said.

Ionia County Central Dispatch reported that three people were trapped in the Goodwill store on Grand River Avenue. They were rescued without injuries. Fire Chief John Baker said two people also were rescued from the Rite Aid at Bridge Street and Grand River Avenue. They also were not injured. All of the people trapped in those buildings were removed within minutes, Baker said.

Baker said no serious injuries have been reported and that no one had been taken to a hospital by paramedics. Officials were searching around damaged buildings using dogs, even though there were no reports of people missing or trapped in a building, he said.

Emergency officials said numerous buildings have structural damage and are asking nonresidents to stay away from Portland so the clean up work can continue. The Portland Board of Light and Power could not confirm how many of its customers were without service. Consumers Energy said about 45 of its customers in Ionia County were without power early Monday evening.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at the Portland Middle School, 745 Storz Ave., to house displaced residents.

Ionia County Central Dispatch supervisor Steve VanHolstyn said in a news release that the center began receiving numerous calls of trees down on Portland streets at 2:34 p.m. Three minutes later, the center took a call from a person who said a building had collapsed.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jared Maples confirmed that no tornado watch or warning was in place at 2:30 p.m. Maczko said the tornado popped up so quickly there was no time to issue a warning.

Official closed the area around Grand River and Bridge Street, where the Goodwill and Rite Aid stores are located, and eventually closed the Interstate 96 off-ramp to Grand River to keep traffic in the area to a minimum.

The tornado tore the roof from a commercial and residential building across the road from the Rite Aid store. Chuck and Sue Burns live on the second floor of the building, above a beauty salon. Both were home at the time and somehow escaped serious injury.

“I was talking to my daughter-in-law who lives on the other side of town, and she says, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve never seen rain like this,'” Sue Burns said. “The next thing I knew, the walls started to shake, and pictures were falling off our walls … A big beam flew right by me and just missed me by inches. Our family room doesn’t have any side walls left.”

No major injuries after storm hits Portland, Michigan. Police and fire departments continue to check the area.

Chuck Burns said he hung onto a door knob and a chair “so I didn’t get sucked away.”

Area residents shared their damage reports social media through the afternoon.

Portland resident Eric Proctor was about to leave G & B Pool Supply across from the emergency services building on Grand River Avenue when the storm hit.

“We looked outside and the rain was falling sideways. You could not see beyond three feet. Then all sorts of debris was flying. But then it quickly ended. It was here and then just as quick it was gone.”

Proctor was able to go through the town to see if anyone needed help.

“The Goodwill store was badly damaged,” he said. “The roof was gone and the sides were also damaged. There were a lot of buildings in that area that are missing their roofs.”

Proctor also took photos of damage at three churches on Bridge Street. First Baptist Church lost its roof and the First Congregational Church lost a steeple it had rededicated in October 2014. The adjacent United Methodist Church also suffered damage.

The storm snapped or uprooted many large trees along residential streets just west of the Goodwill store.

City resident Michael Wagoner said he was at work when the storm blew through and arrived home to find a massive tree lying against his garage and on top of his new steelhead boat. He lost some shingles from his roof but avoided major damage to his house.

Adam Keusch of Keusch’s Super Service, located just south of I-96 said the employees were closing the bay doors when the storm hit.

“It appeared to be a normal storm and we started to close the doors. But we could only get three doors closed before the power went out. It was very quick and very abrupt. All of a sudden you could not see very far and then it was over.”

Patrick Reagan was shopping at Tom’s Food Center/Do-It Center on Grand River Avenue, about one-quarter mile from Goodwill. He was talking to his wife, Karen, who was in an apartment in downtown Portland.

“Karen suddenly said it was raining sideways and that the trees at Scout Park looked like they were sideways. I looked out of the doors at Tom’s and could not see the parking lot. There was a loud wind and the lights went out,” said Reagan.

“When I went outside, I saw that the Rite Aid had a lot of damage as well as the former hair salon next to it.”

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PORTLAND – A tornado cut through the city Monday, damaging numerous buildings, churches and more than 50 homes, but no one was injured.

Jim Maczko of the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids said the tornado was classified as an EF-1 with winds up to 100 m.p.h. The funnel cloud touched down about two miles northwest of the intersection of Grand River Avenue and Bridge Street and was on the ground for 10 minutes.

The tornado sprang up so quickly that forecasters didn’t recognize the radar signature until it had already touched down, Maczko said. Those types of “pop up” storms are typical for Michigan, he said.

“It spun up so quickly … it was virtually undetectable on radar,” said Maczko, warning coordination meteorologist for the weather service. “We were very fortunate that there were no lives lost.”

Portland city officials were working with county and state officials to have a state of emergency declared, City Manager Tutt Gorman said.

Ionia County Central Dispatch reported that three people were trapped in the Goodwill store on Grand River Avenue. They were rescued without injuries. Fire Chief John Baker said two people also were rescued from the Rite Aid at Bridge Street and Grand River Avenue. They also were not injured. All of the people trapped in those buildings were removed within minutes, Baker said.

Baker said no serious injuries have been reported and that no one had been taken to a hospital by paramedics. Officials were searching around damaged buildings using dogs, even though there were no reports of people missing or trapped in a building, he said.

Emergency officials said numerous buildings have structural damage and are asking nonresidents to stay away from Portland so the clean up work can continue. The Portland Board of Light and Power could not confirm how many of its customers were without service. Consumers Energy said about 45 of its customers in Ionia County were without power early Monday evening.

The Red Cross opened a shelter at the Portland Middle School, 745 Storz Ave., to house displaced residents.

Ionia County Central Dispatch supervisor Steve VanHolstyn said in a news release that the center began receiving numerous calls of trees down on Portland streets at 2:34 p.m. Three minutes later, the center took a call from a person who said a building had collapsed.

National Weather Service meteorologist Jared Maples confirmed that no tornado watch or warning was in place at 2:30 p.m. Maczko said the tornado popped up so quickly there was no time to issue a warning.

Official closed the area around Grand River and Bridge Street, where the Goodwill and Rite Aid stores are located, and eventually closed the Interstate 96 off-ramp to Grand River to keep traffic in the area to a minimum.

The tornado tore the roof from a commercial and residential building across the road from the Rite Aid store. Chuck and Sue Burns live on the second floor of the building, above a beauty salon. Both were home at the time and somehow escaped serious injury.

“I was talking to my daughter-in-law who lives on the other side of town, and she says, ‘Oh, my God, I’ve never seen rain like this,'” Sue Burns said. “The next thing I knew, the walls started to shake, and pictures were falling off our walls … A big beam flew right by me and just missed me by inches. Our family room doesn’t have any side walls left.”

No major injuries after storm hits Portland, Michigan. Police and fire departments continue to check the area.

Chuck Burns said he hung onto a door knob and a chair “so I didn’t get sucked away.”

Area residents shared their damage reports social media through the afternoon.

Portland resident Eric Proctor was about to leave G & B Pool Supply across from the emergency services building on Grand River Avenue when the storm hit.

“We looked outside and the rain was falling sideways. You could not see beyond three feet. Then all sorts of debris was flying. But then it quickly ended. It was here and then just as quick it was gone.”

Proctor was able to go through the town to see if anyone needed help.

“The Goodwill store was badly damaged,” he said. “The roof was gone and the sides were also damaged. There were a lot of buildings in that area that are missing their roofs.”

Proctor also took photos of damage at three churches on Bridge Street. First Baptist Church lost its roof and the First Congregational Church lost a steeple it had rededicated in October 2014. The adjacent United Methodist Church also suffered damage.

The storm snapped or uprooted many large trees along residential streets just west of the Goodwill store.

City resident Michael Wagoner said he was at work when the storm blew through and arrived home to find a massive tree lying against his garage and on top of his new steelhead boat. He lost some shingles from his roof but avoided major damage to his house.

Adam Keusch of Keusch’s Super Service, located just south of I-96 said the employees were closing the bay doors when the storm hit.

“It appeared to be a normal storm and we started to close the doors. But we could only get three doors closed before the power went out. It was very quick and very abrupt. All of a sudden you could not see very far and then it was over.”

Patrick Reagan was shopping at Tom’s Food Center/Do-It Center on Grand River Avenue, about one-quarter mile from Goodwill. He was talking to his wife, Karen, who was in an apartment in downtown Portland.

“Karen suddenly said it was raining sideways and that the trees at Scout Park looked like they were sideways. I looked out of the doors at Tom’s and could not see the parking lot. There was a loud wind and the lights went out,” said Reagan.

“When I went outside, I saw that the Rite Aid had a lot of damage as well as the former hair salon next to it.”

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