Thetford Township residents cleaning up after strong winds topple trees, barns

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THETFORD TOWNSHIP (WJRT) (3/15/2019) - Barns destroyed, roofs sheered off and trees torn in two. The storm ripped through various parts of Thetford Township, leaving a big mess.

At one home on Dodge Road, a pile of metal panels sits folded up. They used to form the roof of a red barn that's now also in pieces. The strong winds sent much of it flying north, across the road into a neighbor's yard.

The owner did not want to speak with us on camera. He told our crews he just bought the property, which includes a home he was hoping to fix up. Now, he's got a much bigger project ahead of him.

Just down the road, there's another home dealing with severe damage. It appears the wind ripped through, starting in the backyard, hitting the barn, the garage and then jumping across Dodge Road over to Vassar Road, where it knocked down multiple trees.

"It just - it's unbelievable. I've been around a long time," John Clemons said. "I've never ever in my life seen anything like it."

Clemons lives next door to the home. He watched the storm take it out just minutes after he got home Thursday night.

"My grandson's on the phone with my wife just pleading for me to get home; you know, he was scared to death. And, 20 minutes after we got home, it all went down. So we were lucky," Clemons said.

He showed our crew that the straight line winds kept on one path, only knocking down one of his trees. The neighbor's homes look just fine, too.

"It happened so quick that, you know, at one minute the sky was clear, the next minute, I seen a funnel cloud coming in, it was just dropped," Clemons said. "And when it dropped, it just took that whole corner of that barn out, that barn all the way around."

Clemons said his neighbor wasn't home at the time; and he said, he has yet to get a hold of her.

After they lost power, he took his family to a hotel in Birch Run to stay warm. Thankfully it was restored around 10 a.m. this morning.

"It was just the scariest thing I've ever seen in my life," Clemons said.

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