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Michigan tornado killed 2, injured dozens, state police say

Michigan tornado killed 2, injured dozens, state police say
A tornado caused damage throughout the business district of Gaylor, Mich., emergency officials said. Photo courtesy of the Michigan State Police

May 21 (UPI) -- A tornado that tore through northern Michigan killed two people and injured dozens others, state police said.

Michigan State Police said two people died and 23 injured people were being treated at Gaylord-Otsego Memorial Hospital, according to the Detroit Free Press. Gaylord Mayor Todd Sharrard said an estimated 35 to 40 people sought treatment at area hospitals, according to WPBN-TV in Traverse City.

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The twister touched down in the city of Gaylord Friday afternoon, causing heavy damage. Thousands of people lost power, with 6,500 customers still without electricity Saturday morning.

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Otsego County in the wake of the storm, diverting resources to the affected region and activating the State Emergency Operations Center.

"My heart goes out to the families and small businesses impacted by the tornado and severe weather in Gaylord," she said in a statement.

"Our state is grateful for the first responders and utility workers who are working hard to keep everyone safe. Michiganders are tough. We are resilient. And there's no challenge we can't get through together."

The National Weather Service said the tornado initially touched down southwest of Gaylord and moved to the northeast.

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"For northern Michigan, it will likely be a fairly long, damaged path," NWS meteorologist Jim Keysor said.

It would be long if you "were in tornado alley in the Plains, but for northern Michigan where we don't receive very many tornadoes, it's a fairly long path."

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