Michigan escapes worst of storms that cause damage in Wisc., Ill.
Strong thunderstorms caused widespread damage across Wisconsin, left tens of thousands without power and triggered tornado warnings.
The severe weather stretched from the Mississippi River to Lake Michigan and began Wednesday evening in northwestern Wisconsin. By 2 a.m. Thursday, the numerous tornado warnings around the state had expired.
The system sparked a line of strong thunderstorms through central Michigan early Thursday, producing significant rain, wind and lightning that affected the Thumb area in a line from Bad Axe to Millington before heading out over Lake Huron.
Additionally, storms moved through Hillsdale County in southeast Michigan just before 6 a.m., producing winds up to 55 mph before pushing into Ohio.
The bulk of the rain remained to the southwest and northeast of Detroit. The Detroit area was largely spared, as rain moved both north and south of the city. View National Weather Service radar here. Scattered showers and storms could pop up until early afternoon.
DTE Energy reports a couple of hundred homes lost power in the Thumb area just after 5 a.m.
The storm system pushed through Michigan during the overnight hours from the northwest across Lake Michigan. Beaches in Mason, Oceana, Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren and Muskegon counties in west Michigan could see dangerous conditions through Friday morning. High wave action, strong currents and dangerous swimming conditions are expected, according to the National Weather Service, and piers may be swamped by waves.
The system did more damage in Wisconsin and Illinois, where the National Weather Service said a wind gust of 70 mph was reported at 8:40 p.m. Wednesday in Merrill in Lincoln County, according to the weather service. Numerous trees and power lines were reported down in Merrill.
A 78 mph wind gust was reported at Weston in Marathon County at 9 p.m., according to the weather service. Sustained winds of 74 mph are required for a Category 1 hurricane.
The National Weather Service sent two crews to survey damage in the Jefferson County community of Concord and in the Waukesha County Village of Wales on Thursday in southeastern Wisconsin, where the storm toppled farm buildings and left a path of destruction. Cows could be seen grazing among debris that landed in farm fields.
Gov. Tony Evers signed a declaration imposing a state of emergency in Wisconsin. Evers' order directs state agencies to help those impacted by the storms. It also allows the Wisconsin National Guard to be activated to support local authorities with recovery efforts.
For Michigan, severe weather may not make a return for a while. After the cold front moved through in the early hours of Thursday morning, heat and humidity are relenting. Temperatures are forecast to be in the upper 70s and low 80s for much of the weekend and next week.
Associated Press contributed.