SOUTHFIELD (WWJ) – Clean-up is underway across Michigan after a wave of severe thunderstorms that generated heavy rain, hail and wind gusts of up to 75 miles per hour. Currently, DTE Energy reports 15-thousand power outages with more than half of them in Wayne County.
The storms that hit Wednesday afternoon and evening led to street flooding and funnel cloud sightings in St. Clair and Macomb counties. No tornadoes were reported, but the storm pummeled the ground with hail up to 2 inches in diameter. Flooding has been the big problem in St. Clair County especially around Fort Gratiot and Burtchville. The Sheriff’s Department used its boat Wednesday night to rescue people from their homes in one flooded neighborhood.
There’s a flood warning through noon Thursday in St. Clair County. The Sheriff’s Department says the storms dumped heavy rain in many communities — including Fort Gratiot, Marysville, Yale and Burtchville.
Meanwhile, one inch hail was reported in Memphis, Michigan, by the fire department. Three-quarter of an inch hail was reported in Clarkston. A trained weather spotter reported a roof blew off a barn near Lapeer. A 74-mile per hour wind gust was reported in Swartz Creek, southwest of Flint. A 59-mile per hour wind gust was reported at the National Weather Service office in White Lake in northern Oakland County.
Jack Watti, who works at a restaurant near 26 Mile and Romeo Plank, described what he saw. “We saw what looked like a tornado touch down, about a half-mile away. It looked like a giant funnel cloud,” said Watti.
WWJ also spoke with Richmond resident Keith McLaughlin who said he saw some ominous clouds touching the ground. “The clouds were very, very dark and very heavy on the ground. I thought I had a tornado sighting, but … it looks like it was just getting ready to do a tornado,” said McLaughlin.
WWJ TV Chief Meteorologist Jim Madaus talked about what’s causing these summer storms. “It has been a warm humid week so far. We have an unusually high amount of moisture in the atmosphere over the Detroit area. Anytime you have a tropical setup like we currently have, all you have to do is sneeze, and a thunderstorm will break out,” he said.
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