GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Belknap Lookout neighborhood sustained significant damage when a line of severe thunderstorms hit Wednesday, Sept. 11.
Gabby Dewey, who lives near the apartment complex, said: This little carport next to the house, it was just destroyed. There were cars under it that are no longer cars. …I dont want to say carnage, but it looks like something exploded, because all the insulation from the apartment complex is just everywhere. Im not going to lie, though, Im glad it was this side of the highway and not the hospital side.
The storm featured strong winds, rain and lightning. Tornado warnings also were issued Wednesday night for parts of West Michigan. The National Weather Service is investigating the storm to determine whether a tornado touched down or a straight-line event occurred.
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A woman who lives on Turner Avenue said she looked outside when power started to flicker. She looked across U.S. 131 and saw what looked like a bunch of birds flying in a huge circle.
The National Weather Service said a tornado touched down south of Ossian just before 5 p.m. Some damage has been reported in the area. Winneshiek County Emergency Management said significant damage was reported along 180th Avenue near Ossian.
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Then, she said, my boyfriend looked and it was trash swirling in a circle maybe the size of a football field. It looked like it was maybe over 6th Street bridge area. It was only there for a moment then disappeared and it got really dark at the time as well.
River Street south of Marquette is closed as of 8 p.m. due to flash flooding. Highway 9 in Allamakee County just west of Lansing is also closed to due debris on the roadway.
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The storm caused widespread damage but much was focused on Grand Rapids, Lowell and just east of Lake Odessa, the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids reported.
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Grand Rapids firefighters responded to 160 alarms during a 12-hour period ending at 7 a.m. Thursday. The city opened its Emergency Operations Center immediately after the storm with crews responding to downed trees and power lines.
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Over 100 power lines are down, with traffic lights out at some intersections. Eight streets are blocked by downed trees, the city said. Nearly 19,000 Consumers Energy customers in Kent County, the hardest hit, remain without power.