Yesterday (Monday), Sylvia returned home after a week with her dad. She had a therapy scheduled for shortly after lunch. A storm front was approaching this area, and Sylvia was concerned. As she was leaving, I reported that the radar loop showed the rain moving rapidly to the East. She would get in her car in the garage, and the worst of the rain would have moved through by the time she reached the therapist’s office. It worked that way.
After Sylvia left, I came into the office to check out the news online before putting together a blog post. That post was never written.
Over the scanner, county central dispatch tasked a unit to check out the Portland Goodwill store. They had a report of the roof being down and there were people trapped inside.
I went to the family room so I could monitor central dispatch and see TV reports. The building had collapsed and the mother and her two young sons were rescued by a cop and an off-duty fireman.
Soon the TV was reporting a touchdown of a possible tornado. There was extensive damage done in town. Over the next nine hours, reports continued to arrive at the TV station and to appear online.
In an e-mail exchange, our daughter-in-law, Barbara, reported that she had left Portland an hour before the storm hit. Her older sister had taken their parents to her home. That was good. The parents live a short way behind the Goodwill store.
Two weeks earlier, Barbara’s parents had joined with others to celebrate the 175th anniversary of First Baptist Church. The tornado (it was later identified as an EF-1) had taken off the roof and done severe structural damage to the beautiful and historic landmark. The building is a complete loss.
Photo: Lansing State Journal
The United Methodist church (just across the street) was also badly damaged. It may have to go as well.
The Congregation church, a couple doors down the street, had just replaced their building’s roof. The tornado got that too.
One house lost its roof and the couple who were inside said they had to grab onto a chair and a doorknob to keep from being sucked up into the storm. How’s that for scary?
Videos and still pix show an army of volunteers that came out to assist neighbors and town in the cleanup. Many area fire departments and rescue units responded to lend assistance. It is encouraging to see that kind of unity in the face of adversity.
Shortly before lunch today, I heard the report came through that Grand River Avenue (the main street) was once again open for traffic.
Today, life returns to normal for most of us. Nobody was seriously injured. Only a few minor cuts and bruises were reported.
More info here: WZZM13