1 dead after tree falls on home amid severe Michigan storms

AP News
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Posted: Jul 07, 2017 12:31 PM

GRAND HAVEN, Mich. (AP) — A 72-year-old man has died after a tree fell on a home in western Michigan early Friday, as severe thunderstorms moved across the state, authorities said.

Trees and power lines were knocked down by the strong storms, which started Thursday night and continued Friday morning. Heavy rain and hail fell in places. Consumers Energy said that more than 156,000 of the homes and businesses it serves lost power.

In Grand Haven, which is located along Lake Michigan, Public Safety Director Jeff Hawke told WOOD-TV that the man's death was under investigation. The Ottawa County sheriff's department said a woman at the home escaped. A wind gust exceeding 90 mph (145 kph) was reported at Grand Haven's harbor.

Tom Donahue, who lives nearby, told WZZM-TV that the storm was extremely loud as it moved through.

"It sounded like a jet engine, a jet plane, was parked on my deck," he said. "It was so loud. I couldn't believe how loud it was. It's the biggest storm I've ever been in."

Neighbors described the home where the man died as a summer cottage. Elisabeth Sawyer, a friend and high school classmate of the man, told MLive.com that he lived there with his wife. She said those in the area were "very fortunate" to escape the storm.

"You can tell some of the trees around here are old and you can tell they're ready to go down," she said.

Consumers Energy said power restoration efforts were taking place and would likely continue through the weekend. The utility said the northeast and western portions of the state were hit hard. About 2,000 power lines were down, Consumers Energy said.

The National Weather Service said winds up to 65 mph (105 kph) were reported in the Grand Rapids area. Road crews were called in to remove trees from roads in Kent County, which includes Grand Rapids.

Some trees and large tree limbs were knocked down in suburban Detroit. DTE Energy reported about 14,000 scattered power outages in southeastern Michigan on Friday morning. The Lansing area also saw storm damage, with downed trees and power lines.