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Storms Produce Tornadoes In Southeast Michigan, Winds Topple Homes

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All that is left of a Genesee County home after a tornado swept through the area. (Credit: Ron Dewey/WWJ Newsradio 950)

All that is left of a Genesee County home after a tornado swept through the area. (Credit: Ron Dewey/WWJ Newsradio 950)

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FLINT (WWJ/AP) – The National Weather Service says severe thunderstorms that pushed across southeastern Michigan produced several tornadoes, downed trees and power lines, and damaged homes and businesses.

No injuries were reported Wednesday morning in the Flint area, which was among those hit by the Tuesday storms.

The weather service says a tornado touched down about 10 p.m. near Goodrich High School, southeast of Flint. A half-hour earlier, it said winds knocked down a home about five miles south of Swartz Creek.

The weather service said high winds in the same severe thunderstorm system heavily damaged several homes in southern Genesee County. It said winds toppled numerous trees and power lines.

Homes also were reported destroyed or damaged in the Fenton and Mount Morris Township areas.

Fenton Township resident Jim Reynolds told MLive.com that he was watching hockey on TV when he heard the wind and rushed into the basement of his home with his dog Charlie. He lives about 12 miles southwest of where the tornado touched down in Goodrich.

“I went downstairs and about three minutes later I came back to this,” Reynolds said, looking out over his two-story home with its roof blown off. “As soon as I went downstairs, the power went off and I heard screaming.”

Reynolds and his dog were uninjured.

The storm also caused damage in the northern part of the county.

“It was crazy,” said James Roberts, of Mount Morris Township, which is about 15 miles northwest of Goodrich. He said he and his family were watching the storm on the porch when winds started gusting. He quickly shuffled everyone to the home’s basement. “We had no warning,” Roberts said, adding that they never heard a siren go off.

Roberts said his home sustained minimal damage, but others further east were hit more heavily.

The weather service also received storm damage reports from southern Shiawassee County as well as the Lansing and Kalamazoo areas. Several funnel clouds were reported in the Kalamazoo area, the weather service said.

Flooding also was reported southwest of Kalamazoo, with water a foot deep on one road following heavy rains.

Crews planned to survey storm damage Wednesday to determine the strength of the tornadoes. Initial reports indicated several tornado touchdowns in Shiawassee and Genesee Counties, said Steve Considine, a weather service meteorologist.

“We had tornado warnings going for a little more than a two hour period, but the individual storms moved through fairly quickly,” Considine said.

The storms came as Flint-area residents prepare to mark the 60th anniversary of a tornado that hit the area June 8, 1953, leaving 116 people dead. The Beecher tornado, as it is known, gets its name from the area where it struck in Genesee County, just north of Flint. A memorial service is planned for next month.

TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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