Storm damage assessment under way in Shiawassee and Genesee counties

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SHIAWASSEE COUNTY (WJRT) - (03/15/19) - Damage assessment began in Shiawassee County on Friday morning after the National Weather Service confirmed it was hit by a tornado.

The sheriff's office said only minor injuries had been reported after the tornado Thursday evening. Nobody was seriously injured or killed from the storm.

As of Friday morning, Shiawassee County authorities said there were at least 60 damaged structures, 10 of which were destroyed. Michigan State Police estimated more than 70 structures were damaged.

Generators could be heard in some neighborhoods as families looked at trees and debris on the ground.

The area of Bennington and Reid roads near Vernon was particularly hard hit. One house lost its roof and an SUV parked out front had broken windows with debris strewn all over the yard.

Jason Hosington, the homeowner, said he was feeling confused and afraid while trying to pick up the pieces Friday.

He pointed out a tree in the yard his father planted in 1964 when Hosington was just 6. It is now laying on the ground.

"My grandma always hated the tree and I guess she got her wish now cause it's down," Hosington said.

He was happy the houses his grandfather and great-grandfather built remain standing -- and that his family is OK.

"I've never seen nothing to this extent happen here before," Hosington said. "This is a great little community here. I grew up here all my life and all the people are excellent."

Elsewhere in eastern Shiawassee County, dozens of houses have major roof damage, trees are snapped and power lines are down.

"The greatest concentration of damage really would be Great Lakes Fusion at M-71 and Bennington," said Shiawassee County Undersheriff Robert Brancheau.

Police, fire and EMS crews completed a grid search of the area overnight surveying damage and looking for anyone injured. No serious injuries or deaths were reported from the storm.

The Shoreline Lake Condo community on Tyrell Road near Vernon was one of the hardest hit areas. The area of Great Lakes Fabrication and Machining on M-71 was also hit hard.

The storm caused roof and tree damage in Flint Township, Clayton Township, Flushing, Mt. Morris and Genesee Township as it moved northeast into Genesee County.

Camelot Villas mobile home park in Genesee County saw widespread destruction. About 15 mobile homes in the Camelot Villas community of Genesee Township were badly damaged.

Mobile homes were knocked off their bases, trees got knocked down and one vacant trailer could be seen wrapped around a tree. Richard Brooks, who lives in the park, said the damage looks like a movie scene.

The storm continued to move northeast and also left damage near Mayville in southern Tuscola County.

Emergency crews are asking everyone to avoid the Vernon area altogether due to the extent of damage and high voltage power lines down. Several roads remained closed Friday:
-- M-71 from Bennington Road to the I-69 overpass.
-- Vernon Road from the south village limits of Vernon to Lansing Road.
-- Garrison Road between Vernon Road and Harvest Mills.
-- Reed Road between M-71 and Bennington Road.

Shiawassee County Central Dispatch asked people affected by the storm to call 989-743-2635 to report damage or downed power lines.

Consumers Energy initially reported more than 6,100 customers without power in Shiawassee County, but that number was reduced to 1,900 customers by Friday morning.

Power restoration efforts will continue around the clock Friday. Some people in the hardest hit areas may not receive power back until Saturday.

Tornado damage in the Vernon area.

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