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‘Absolutely devastating’ -- 2 dead after Gaylord tornado, another missing, dozens injured

Michigan State Police hold press conference on Gaylord tornado damage
Published: May. 21, 2022 at 12:13 PM EDT
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OTSEGO COUNTY, Mich. (WILX) - It only took about three minutes for the tornado to move through Gaylord on Friday. That was all the time needed to tear off roofs, throw around cars, injure 44 people and kill two others.

Within 15 minutes, it was out of the area entirely, leaving behind a scene of destruction.

Saturday, the Michigan State Police announced that a second person was confirmed to have died in the event. A third remains missing. The National Weather Service says winds got up to at least 50 miles per hour at some points, with hail the size of eggs.

Background: State of Emergency declared after tornado in Gaylord kills at least 1, hospitalizes 44

At 3:38 p.m. a warning went out to residents. Just 16 minutes later, the tornado touched down in Gaylord, injuring dozens and killing at least two people. The National Weather Service described it as a “large and extremely dangerous” tornado.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency, which allows state resources to help with the response.

“The tornado damage in Gaylord is absolutely devastating. Brenda and I are praying for all our Gaylord neighbors,” said Rep. Ken Borton. “We especially pray for anyone who lost a friend or a family member – they have our deepest sympathies. We also pray for a speedy recovery for the injured. Police, first responders, and medical professionals in our community are working extra hard today, and we thank them for their work getting people to safety and treating the wounded.”

Even as the small Michigan town cleans up, there’s still danger. The extreme weather tore down powerlines and threw heavy debris into branches and onto roofs, both a danger on their own.

“It is crucial for people to stay inside if possible and stay away from any downed power lines or debris,” said Sen. Jim Stamas. “Let’s all hug our families a little tighter, and let’s all work together to rebuild and recover from this storm together.”

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