Gallery: 2 Gaylord deaths from 150 mph tornado were in mobile home park; state of emergency declared

May 20, 2022, 5:44 PM

Damage at Nottingham Forest Mobile Home Park of Route M-32. Seven more Michigan State Police photos are below.

The governor visited Gaylord and signed a state of emergency declaration Friday night, a few hours after a deadly tornado ripped through the northern Michigan city of 4,300.

Gretchen Whitmer's order authorizes extra state resources to help residents and businesses recover.

The storm had peak winds of 150 miles per hour, the National Weather Service says, and was a Category 3 tornado on the Enhanced Fujita (EF) Scale, which runs from zero to five. It lasted 20 minutes and cut a 16.6-mile path that was just 200 yards wide at most.

(Graphic: Michigan State Police)

The death toll remains at two, says Lt. Derrick Carroll of the Michigan State Police. Both victims, not yet identified publicly, were in their 70s and were found in the wreckage of Nottingham Forest Mobile Home Park off M-32, according to media reports on a briefing at Kirtland Community College in Gaylord.

"There have been trailers picked up and turned over on top of each other," Otsego County Fire Chief Chris Martin is quoted as saying.

The injury count remains at 44 people, with one person still missing Saturday morning.

Twenty-three victims were in Otsego Memorial Hospital in the battered city, while 12 patients were at Grayling Hospital and eight were taken to McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Petoskey. One was at Munson Medical Center in Traverse City.

Power is out for about 6,500 customers, according to Consumers Energy, which hoped to restore most by late Saturday night. "The devastation is incredible," said spokesman Roger Curtis, according to the Detroit Free Press.

"Crews are having difficulty getting power restored due to people getting in the way," a state police tweet says.

This was the first tornado in Gaylord, the seat of Otsego County, since at least 1950, according to John Boris of the National Weather Service. 

Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist and state Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland, were among officials on the scene Saturday. Rep. Ken Borton, R-Gaylord, came Friday evening.

New State Police photos:

Nottingham Forest Mobile Home Park, site of two deaths, has extensive damage.

Another mobile home park view Saturday from state police aircraft

Hobby Lobby on West Main Street

Same shopping center on Gaylord's main commercial corridor

Governor visited the state police emergency management command center in Kirtland Community College. 

Sen. Jim Stamas, R-Midland (standing), also saw the tornado response by state, county and local responders.

Original coverage, Friday evening:

Damage on West Main Street

A tornado tore through the Gaylord area in northern Michigan on Friday afternoon, damaging many businesses and homes.

The Detroit News reports that two people are confirmed dead, and a third person is missing.

The New York Times reports that 44 people were injured.

The patients were taken to four different hospitals, though their conditions were not immediately available.

Lt. Derrick Carroll of the Michigan State Police reported from Gaylord, a city of about 4,000 in Michigan’s lower peninsula, that the storm had torn through a mobile home park and the business area and knocked out power.

Another scene along West Main.

The Red Cross set up at a shelter at a church, and the state police warned outsiders to stay away. A 13-hour overnight city curfew is in effect until 8 a.m. Saturday to avoid looting and cleanup interference.

Trees and power lines were down, with some blocking roads. Three videos are below.

The Times quotes meteorologist Andy Sullivan of the National Weather Service office in Gaylord as saying there's "no doubt" that a "very strong" tornado had struck -- an unusual event in Northern Michigan.

The tornado, which hit around 3:45 p.m., "heavily damaged" the commercial district, he said.


Leave a Comment:

Photo Of The Day