Rochester Hills storm confirmed as tornado

Oralandar Brand-Williams
The Detroit News
  • High winds brought down power lines%2C snapped a utility pole in half and blew off roofing on homes
  • The National Weather Service confirmed the storm as a tornado

Rochester Hills — A wicked storm that whipped through Rochester Hills early Sunday and damaged more than a dozen homes has been confirmed as a tornado.

Several hours after the 6 a.m. winds hit, the National Weather Service confirmed a 150 yards-wide tornado with winds reaching 90 mph hit homes near Brewster and Tienken.

“It was like Mother Nature punched the front of the house,” said Rory McPherson

High winds brought down power lines, snapped a utility pole in half and blew off roofing on homes near Brewster and Tienken. At noon, the scene lo

oked like a disaster area, with several toppled trees, broken windows and damaged roofs. The sounds of chainsaws and emergency responders were ubiquitous, but there were no reports of injuries.

"It was like Mother Nature punched the front of the house," said Rory McPherson, who lives in the 1700 block of Grandview.

Windows of his house were blown out. Siding bent like paper. A maple tree that belonged to a neighbor toppled in his yard. A slide from a pool blew into the house. He said the storm — which unconfirmed reports say was a tornado — lasted 30 seconds then was "perfectly quiet."

His wife, Kareen McPherson, said they were in their bedroom when they heard a roar and fled to a bathroom.

A wicked storm whipped through Rochester Hills about 6 a.m. Sunday, causing severe damage to more than a dozen homes and knocking out power to 900 DTE Energy customers.

"I was scared as soon as I heard it," she said. "I said, 'This is bad.'"

Neighbor Ed Benavides, an insurance adjustor, said he first heard "wind, then very, very heavy wind." He scooped up his four children and two friends who were spending the night and went into the basement.

"I thought, 'Oh my God, this is really bad,'" he said.

Half of his roof is blown off, while his front window is broken.

Various reports estimated 15 to 24 homes were damaged. The Salvation Army reported it is providing relief to those affected.

Randi Berris, spokeswoman for DTE, said crews were told the strong winds blew a trampoline into the window of a home in Rochester Hills. Power was knocked out to 900 customers but was expected to return by noon, Berris said.

The storm came hours after strong thunderstorms walloped southeast Michigan on Saturday, bringing lightning strikes and causing a long delay in the University of Michigan's football game in Ann Arbor.

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