Residents, work crews tackling EF-2 tornado aftermath in Grand Blanc

Posted at 5:58 PM, Feb 28, 2024

GRAND BLANC, Mich. (WXYZ) — Residents in Grand Blanc were disturbed by what the National Weather Service confirms was an EF-2 tornado.

It happened around 1:20 a.m. and came as even more of a surprise since it occurred in the month of February.

7 Action News spoke with several residents now dealing with the aftermath, from fallen trees to sheared shingles.

Sarah Courneya said, “We woke up and tried to make sure our pets were safe and then heard a big loud noise.”

That loud thud was the sound of a large tree toppling in their front yard.

“It was pretty scary. The furniture in our room moved," she said.

Emily Overmyer added, “I saw the dresser move, but I didn’t realize why that bang happened.”

When the tree was uprooted, it not only damaged their home and a vehicle, it also ruptured a natural gas line. Consumers Energy spent the day repairing the line in the Indian Hill subdivision.

Utility crews stayed extra busy since authorities say a large area lost power.

Tree trimmers are also working swiftly to service residents.

When asked about particular challenges working in these conditions, certified arborist David Evans explained, "Gas lines, electric lines, mostly safety, the winds getting really high."

"We’re not going to be able to go up into the air because the wind’s picking up," he said.

Evans, who's with Owen Tree Service, said even when the fallen trees and broken branches are cleared, residents will still need to keep a watchful on the existing trees because the soil or the branches may have been weakened by the tornado.

From the neighborhood to an industrial area along parts of Dort Highway and Reid Road, buildings sustained heavy damage.

The good news is no injuries and no deaths have been reported.

Courneya said, “We’re really fortunate. It could have been a whole lot worse, and we are just immensely grateful for the city police and the firefighters who were here all night long.”

Authorities remind everyone to be aware and stay away from fallen wires, assume they are energized, and call 911.