September 3, 2014 at 10:43 pm

Labor Day tornadoes damage some northern lower Michigan trails

Some of the state’s trails in northern lower Michigan may be blocked, dangerous or closed following severe weather earlier this week, Department of Natural Resources officials said Wednesday.

Crews are working to remove hazards and downed trees.

“We appreciate the public’s patience at this time while we review and prioritize the damages on the trails,” DNR forest recreation specialist Paige Perry said in a press release. “We will have trails cleared and ready for recreation as soon as we can.”

There were four tornadoes Monday afternoon, spawned by the same storm that drenched southeast Michigan on Labor Day and knocked power out to about 15,000 homes and businesses, according to the National Weather Service in Gaylord. The tornadoes touched down in northern Kalkaska County, northeast Crawford County, southern Cheboygan County and southeast Otsego County and damaged a half-dozen homes.

No injuries were reported.

“Multiple tornadoes in northern Michigan are abnormal anytime of the year,” said Justin Arnott, a meteorologist at the weather service station in Gaylord.

The tornadoes, reaching winds of 110 mph, struck Kalkaska County just north of Manistee Lake at 1:47 p.m., Crawford County near Frederic at 2:16 p.m., Otsego County near Little Bass Lake at 2:38 pm. and Cheboygan County near Wildwood Lake at 2:43 p.m.

The thunderstorms that swept through Metro Detroit on Monday night left up to 15,000 homes and businesses without power, but that number had been reduced to 3,000 Tuesday morning, according to DTE Energy Co.

The storms dumped anywhere from ½ to 1½ inches of rain in just about two hours, according to Dan Thompson, meteorologist with the National Weather Service.

The DNR said trails that may have been affected include the Kalkaska ORV Trail and Route, the Frederic ORV Trail and Route, the North Branch ORV Route and the Crapo Creek ORV Trail, DNR said.