Shiawassee County declares state of emergency as clean up gets undereway

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Vernon Township, MICHIGAN (WJRT) - (03/15/2019) - Less than 24-hours after four tornadoes hit Mid Michigan, Shiawassee County has declared a state of emergency.

The request for assistance for homeowners and businesses impacted by the tornadoes now moves onto the governor.

Scenes from the aftermath of the tornadoes that swept through the county Thursday night include a house that looks as if it was lifted off of its foundation, before being dropped back down onto its side.

The landscape is now dotted with trees, snapped like toothpicks, and blue tarps cover damaged homes in an effort to protect them from the elements.

Jarrod Cummings said he ducked for cover when the tornado hit. You can hear the concern in his dad's voice in a video recording of the funnel taken afterwards:

"It was just like a big roar," said Cummings, "sounded like a bunch of freight trains coming through."

While Jarrod's home was not damaged, some of his neighbors didn't fare as well.

Utility trucks lined Newberry Road on Friday afternoon, as crews scrambled to restore power.

Trent Atkins, Shiawassee County Emergency Manager and Homeland Security Director, traced the route of the more powerful twister on a map for us.

He described the scene that unfolded from the vantage point of the Michigan State Police helicopter:

"We saw houses that were completely destroyed,roofs ripped off," he said, "a couple of areas looked like a bomb went off."

One of the hardest hit areas is near the intersection of Newburg and Bancroft Roads.

We observed a lot of gawkers driving by on Friday evening, with the exception of a young woman who pulled into the driveway of one of the damaged homes to offer her help.

Hannah Hildebrandt said she had lived in the home shortly after she got married. She and her husband wanted to help the new homeowner by offering to remove limbs from downed trees on the property.

"Mostly just concern and compassion for the people living here," Hildebrandt said when we asked her why she came back.

"I mean this could be us, it could be any of us," she added.

Sheriff Brian BeGole said this weekend they'll be working with non- profit organizations on recovery and clean up.

The county has set up a number folks can call to report damage:

That number is 989-743-2635

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