Tornadoes Rip Through Michigan, Destroy or Damage Over 100 Homes

Tornadoes have destroyed 13 homes and left 105 significantly damaged.

March 16, 2012, 3:43 AM

March 16, 2012— -- Three reported tornadoes tore through southeastern Michigan Thursday, destroying 13 homes and leaving 105 houses significantly damaged, while downing power lines, sparking fires and flooding streets in Dexter, Mich.

Sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson said there were no reports of serious injuries or fatalities.

A tornado touchdown was reported in Dexter and the surrounding area northwest of Ann Arbor, Michigan Thursday night, according to Marc Breckenridge, director of Emergency Management for Washtenaw County. The National Weather Service said a "significant'' tornado touched down in Washtenaw County at about 5:15 p.m., and there were over 200 reports of severe weather Thursday from Tennessee through Michigan.

"The temperatures dropped, the clouds were crazy colors and we could hear the wind as it got closer and got bigger. It sounded like a train coming. It started hailing, and the wind was so loud as it got closer, it was extremely scary," said Dexter resident Matthew Altruda, who was golfing with his friends when the storm hit.

PHOTOS: Tornado Leaves Path of Destruction in Michigan

Police in Washtenaw County have set up a command post to deal with the aftermath or the storm, according to ABC News affiliate WXYZ, while mutual assistance is being provided throughout the county. Police are currently advising those in the area to stay in their homes.

Crews assessing damage in the area told The AP that one home appeared to be completely flattened, while a nearby house lost the majority of its roof and its second floor.

"It was pretty intense. I mean, dime-sized hail for probably 20 or 30 minutes. We couldn't see more than 10 feet in front of us. Just heavy rain; heavy wind," Ryan Winchester, who manages the Mobil Station in Dexter, told ABC News. "I'm just glad everyone's alright … too bad about the homes but everyone's okay, so that's good … I've been living in Dexter for a long time and never … I've never seen anything like it."

Approximately 24 homes in Sharon Carty's Huron Farms neighborhood "are pretty much unlivable," Sheriff's spokesman Derrick Jackson told The AP. "And a significant number more than that are severely damaged. One house, the whole front of the house is gone. Folks whose houses were hit are pretty stunned. We don't get too many tornadoes around here."

The storm also pelted the streets of Ann Arbor with golf ball size hail.

In the past 60 years Michigan has seen a little less than 1,000 tornadoes, and most have occurred during the severe weather months of April and May, and into the summer months. There have been 10 other tornadoes this early in the season in 2012 in the state of Michigan, but this is the farthest north of them all.

Unconfirmed reports of tornadoes touching down in Monroe County's Ida Township and northwest Lapeer County also surfaced Thursday. Trees and power lines had been downed, according to National Weather Service meteorologist Amos Dodson.

"We just shut the door and prayed and held hands and stuff and calling our husbands telling them not to come home," one survivor told ABC News.

Meanwhile in southern Indiana lightning struck a ball field, injuring four members of the Seymour girl's high school softball team. One of the girls was in critical condition, while the other three sustained non-critical injuries, according to Schneck Medical Center Marketing Director Stephanie Furlow. The skies were reportedly clear at the time of the strike.

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