Whitmer extends emergency declaration to Huron, Ionia, Washtenaw counties

Beth LeBlanc
The Detroit News

Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared emergencies in an additional three counties Thursday, adding to an emergency declaration in Wayne County. 

The amendment to the June 26 declaration will add Huron and Ionia counties because of tornado damage and Washtenaw County because of flooding. 

“The residents of these three counties have suffered significant hardship due to the recent severe weather,” Whitmer said in a statement. “Adding the counties to the declaration commits available state resources to help the communities as they rebuild and recover.”

Parts of homes blown apart and strewn across lawns by the tornado along Grindstone Road.

Whitmer on Thursday also asked U.S. Department of Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to make a disaster designation for the counties affected by flooding and tornadoes. She also requested the department make available any additional aid for farmers affected by the recent storms, June droughts or spring freezes.

"From freezing temperatures to flooding, many of our producers are finding themselves in the midst of yet another difficult growing season," the governor  said. "A disaster designation for impacted counties would provide some much-needed support to Michigan farmers.”  

The counties already had declared local states of emergency but requested a state declaration because they determined local resources were insufficient to address the issue, Whitmer said in a statement. Whitmer's declaration qualifies the counties for additional state aid.

Huron and Ionia counties were among four counties hit by tornadoes June 26. 

In Huron County's Port Austin, an EF-2 tornado had peak winds of about 120 mph. The twister carved a roughly 6.9 mile path with a maximum width of about 400 years. Six people were injured.

In Ionia County, an EF-1 tornado traveled about 4.5 miles north of Lake Odessa and an EF-0 tornado near Freeport traveled about a mile. Both tornadoes caused property damage to homes, barns and trees. 

Washtenaw County declared a local state of emergency July 1 following "widespread and severe flooding of numerous homes throughout our community caused by several days of heavy rainfall.

"Stormwater and sewer systems have been overwhelmed, which has also resulted in damage to streets, sidewalks and other public infrastructure," the county said when it announced the declaration.