17 Tornadoes Rip Through Seven States, Damage Reported

Barnsdall, Oklahoma, located north of Tulsa, was severely damaged by the storm that produced at least 17 tornadoes in seven states between Monday night and Tuesday morning.

After Tuesday’s catastrophic storms slammed a portion of Michigan, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency. The National Weather Service declared the state’s first-ever tornado emergency and southeast Michigan was under tornado warnings. A tornado emergency has also been declared in Union City, marking a first for the state.

Two tornadoes ripped across the region, destroying homes and businesses in Portage, Michigan. Damage from downed trees and cables hampered repair efforts after a power outage. When photos showed extensive damage, at least fifty people were at a FedEx facility in Portage. Late Tuesday night, a FedEx spokesman verified that all crew members were safe and accounted for, and authorities reported no significant injuries.

On Tuesday afternoon and evening, the tornado danger zone expanded to include parts of the southern Great Lakes and the Ohio Valley. From Chicago to Nashville, Tennessee, almost 35 million Americans are now situated in the path of the storm. Sections of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Kentucky are under a tornado watch that will last until Tuesday night. Tornadoes, powerful gusts up to 70 mph, and hail the size of baseballs are all likely to cause damage.

Gov. Andy Beshear is warning Kentucky residents to be ready for imminent severe weather, which may bring tornadoes, floods, hail, and strong winds. He has investigated each of them in-depth and seen firsthand the terrible damage they can do. On Monday, at least 20 tornadoes were reported in seven different states.

Reports of hail stones the size of softballs and grapefruits falling across the region sound impossible, but local authorities have verified them.

Being struck by this type of hail could be fatal. The public should heed all emergency warnings.