Clean up underway after tornado in Hale - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Clean up underway after tornado in Hale

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IOSCO COUNTY (WJRT) - (06/18/14) - It only lasted about a minute, but a tornado that rolled through Iosco County on Tuesday left behind some significant damage.

That EF1 tornado packed winds measuring up to 100 miles per hour.

It came with no warning for the residents of Hale.

The roof of the shed from the Hale Hardware store ended up in the VFW hall parking lot next door and the local grocery store lost most of its windows.

A Frito Lay delivery truck was flipped on its side.

The National Weather Service was tracking storm conditions Tuesday and issued a warning for Ogemaw County near West Branch - but not for Iosco County.

The warning was in effect for 45 minutes, but there were no reports of damage in Ogemaw County.

When the storm appeared to weaken, forecasters did not extend the warning.

The tornado eventually touched down at the Ogemaw-Iosco County border, just outside the warning area.

"We make some tough decisions sometimes on storms that come up to the county line or come right up to the end of a warning to decide whether you continue that or not. In this case, in our professional judgment, we decided that it had weakened and we expected it to not produce and so we let the warning expire. It was a tough decision and in this case it didn't pan out the way we expected," said Justin Arnott, of the National Weather Service in Gaylord.

No one was hurt, but it was quite an experience for those who witnessed the twister.

Jerry Peters has a mess to cleanup. His family owns Hale Hardware. It's safe to say they got hit the hardest by the tornado.

"Had quite a bit of damage done," Peters said.

The tornado ripped of his store's roof, but he's still in good spirits.

"You might as well be," he said. "I was right inside that garage over there. I was shutting the door. I was shutting that big door. Luckily, it didn't take that whole thing down like it did this one."

Across the street at the local market - a similar story.

"The windows go in and out and all of sudden, bam, it blew out," said Frank Buck, of Hale.

Buck was working when the strong winds blew through.

"I just took off," he said.

He ran to the back of the store to safety with his co-workers. The business lost most of its windows, but everyone is OK.

Larry Kuhn says he witnessed the tornado's entire 1 minute path of destruction from the doorstep of his auto shop, West Side Body Shop.

"Watched it actually form itself," Kuhn said. "I could feel the vacuum from the tornado pulling on me."

The tornado came unexpectedly and caused damage mostly in the downtown area, across a four block radius.

While some in the small town have a lot to clean up, they're thankful the storm didn't end much worse.

"Thank God nobody got hurt. The rest of it we can handle," Kuhn said.

The storm's path was about 1 mile long.
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