At least five killed in severe storms in Michigan
By Mitchell McCluskey and Robert Shackelford, CNN
(CNN) — At least five people have died in Michigan during severe storms that struck late Thursday into the overnight hours, bringing heavy rains, strong winds and at least one confirmed tornado to the region.
Just under 660,000 homes and businesses are also without power in parts of Michigan and Ohio early Friday.
One woman and two children were killed in a car crash during storms on Thursday night, Kent County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. Eric Brunner told local news station WZZM.
Two deaths were reported in Ingham County.
An 84-year-old woman died after a tree fell on her home in Lansing, Lansing Police Assistant Chief Robert Backus told CNN.
Another person died in a pileup accident involving more than 25 vehicles on Interstate 96 near Williamston on Thursday night, the Ingham County Sheriff’s Office said. Several others were injured.
Storm conditions caused several vehicles on the interstate to overturn – reportedly pinning some drivers inside their vehicles, Michigan State Police Lt. Rene Gonzalez told CNN.
A large and “extremely dangerous” tornado was confirmed near Williamston at about 9:30 p.m. Thursday, according to the National Weather Service offices in Detroit and Grand Rapids.
The storms marched from southern Michigan into Ohio overnight, threatening powerful wind gusts of up to 85 mph, hail up to 1.5 inches in diameter and possible tornadoes.
The severe weather hit a rural area of Ingham County, mainly farmland, Rob Dale with the county’s emergency management office told CNN. Some homes were damaged and some barns were destroyed, he said.
“Everyone in a house or a building was fine,” Dale said, noting that the roof of an assisted living center collapsed but everyone inside was safe and uninjured. Officials plan to reassess damage in the county during daylight hours.
In the fatal crash in Kent County, two vehicles were traveling in opposite directions when one hydroplaned, resulting in a collision.
In one vehicle, the woman and two children were killed and the driver sustained a head injury.
The driver of the other vehicle was also injured.
The storms left more than 460,000 people without power in Michigan and nearly 200,000 in the dark in Ohio overnight, according to tracker PowerOutage.us.
A powerful gust of 70 mph was reported in Detroit Thursday night.
The storms come on the heels of an earlier round of heavy rainfall that wrapped up in southern Michigan and northern Ohio Thursday morning, bringing 7 to 8 inches in some places.
The earlier downpours halted incoming flights at the Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport on Thursday and overnight flooding prompted closures of roadways. About 18% of flights originating at the airport were canceled on Thursday, though the roadways were reopened later in the day.
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CNN’s Elizabeth Wolfe, Andy Rose, Paradise Afshar and Michelle Watson contributed to this report.
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