Weak tornado confirmed near Lake Fenton during Monday storms

Hayley Harding and Shawntay Lewis
The Detroit News

The National Weather Service confirmed Tuesday that a weak tornado touched down during Monday night storms.

It touched down along the shoreline of eastern Lake Fenton around 11:33 p.m. Monday and ended nine minutes later after traveling 7.5 miles east/southeast, the National Weather Service's Pontiac office said in a report posted to Twitter.

The tornado was an EF-0, the lowest severity for a tornado. EF-0 tornadoes can have gusts between 65 and 85 miles per hour.

The tornado caused large tree limbs to fall onto a house on Pine Street near Lake Fenton. The branches took out a dormer on the second story of a house as well as a portion of a roof, according to the National Weather Service office in White Lake.

About a dozen trees "suffered significant damage" in a backyard on Addis Road in Holly. That home also lost some of its vinyl siding, and a pergola was damaged.

Deputy Fire Chief Doug Smith was on the scene  of the damaged trees on Addis and Fish Lake Road. He said it was difficult to tell if a tornado had caused the damage the night.

"The damage resembled a tornado," Smith said. "Trees were completely snapped off midway up, but I didn't see any of the telltale twisting that you typically see in a tornado."

He said he wasn't sure it was straight-line winds or a tornado.

"We had poles and trees that were sheered off, maybe 15 to 20 feet up, and just the number of big oak trees that just came over," he said, referring to the strength of the storm

Nearby, a pieces of metal roofing on a barn blew off, the weather service said.

Holly Township Supervisor George Kullis said most of the damage was confined to one spot.

"We've got one building where some of the branches impaled the building, and there's some devastation in that area, but that's about the top one-third of the township, everything south of that got some rain and not a lot of damage," Kullis said. 

Kullis was talking with residents throughout the night and said some had to evacuate the Oakland County Fair due to the storm. 

Michigan has had more than 100 tornadoes in the past 10 years, but most are relatively weak like Monday's. Even weaker ones can throw objects and seriously hurt people, however, John Allen, a meteorology professor at Central Michigan University, previously told The Detroit News.

While there is no specific tornado season, they are more likely to form in the summer in Michigan as the Great Lakes warm up and when storms are more likely.


Twitter: @Hayley__Harding