Trees down, property damage after tornado reported near Marshall

MARENGO TOWNSHIP, Mich. (WOOD) — As a line of strong thunderstorms cut across Michigan, a reported tornado early Wednesday brought down trees and power lines northeast of Marshall.

There were no reports of injuries, though Michigan State Police said on social media that there was “significant property damage.” Crews will be out surveying that damage today.

Calhoun County said the tornado is believed to have moved along along L Drive N between 17 1/2 Mile Road and 24 Mile Road in Lee and Marengo townships. A spotter and law enforcement officer reported seeing it around 12:35 a.m.

  • Photos show a reported tornado in the Marshall area on Feb. 28, 2024. (Courtesy Don McCracken)
    Photos show a reported tornado in the Marshall area on Feb. 28, 2024. (Courtesy Don McCracken)
  • Photos show a reported tornado in the Marshall area on Feb. 28, 2024. (Courtesy Don McCracken)
    Photos show a reported tornado in the Marshall area on Feb. 28, 2024. (Courtesy Don McCracken)
  • A screenshot of a debris tracker in Calhoun County. (Feb. 28, 2024)
    A screenshot of a debris tracker in Calhoun County. (Feb. 28, 2024)

The Calhoun County Consolidated Dispatch Authority said alerts went out and sirens sounded at 12:02 a.m. when the National Weather Service issued a tornado warning.

The county said responding firefighters found downed trees and power lines, and damage to homes and barns.

Early Wednesday, a News 8 crew saw trees broken and downed along L Drive N between 19 Mile and 21 Mile roads. Some were in roadways, so emergency crews put up yellow tape to keep people away. Roads were starting to reopen as of around 9 a.m.

  • Damage in Marengo Township after a reported tornado on Feb. 28, 2024. (Courtesy Michigan State Police)
    Damage in Marengo Township after a reported tornado on Feb. 28, 2024. (Courtesy Michigan State Police)
  • Storm damage along L Drive N in the areas of 20 Mile in Marengo Township after a reported tornado. (Feb. 28, 2024)
    Storm damage along L Drive N in the areas of 20 Mile in Marengo Township after a reported tornado. (Feb. 28, 2024)
  • Storm damage along L Drive N in the areas of 20 Mile in Marengo Township after a reported tornado. (Feb. 28, 2024)
    Storm damage along L Drive N in the areas of 20 Mile in Marengo Township after a reported tornado. (Feb. 28, 2024)
  • Damage in Marengo Township after a reported tornado on Feb. 28, 2024. (Courtesy Michigan State Police)
    Damage in Marengo Township after a reported tornado on Feb. 28, 2024. (Courtesy Michigan State Police)

“Deputies, troopers and fire personnel are working their way through the areas with the assistance of the Calhoun County Road Commissions heavy equipment,” dispatchers wrote on Facebook.

The National Weather Service will survey the area to confirm a tornado.

The storms also brought hail to the Battle Creek area, where Katie Nickolaou, a meteorologist for WOOD TV8’s Lansing sister station WLNS, saw hail bigger than 2 inches in diameter.

  • Hail in the Battle Creek area around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 28, 2024. (Katie Nickolaou/WLNS)
    Hail in the Battle Creek area around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 28, 2024. (Katie Nickolaou/WLNS)
  • Hail in the Battle Creek area around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 28, 2024. (Katie Nickolaou/WLNS)
    Hail in the Battle Creek area around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 28, 2024. (Katie Nickolaou/WLNS)
  • Hail in the Battle Creek area around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 28, 2024. (Katie Nickolaou/WLNS)
    Hail in the Battle Creek area around 12:30 a.m. Feb. 28, 2024. (Katie Nickolaou/WLNS)
  • Donna Fletcher sent these photos of hail in Battle Creek after overnight storms. (Feb. 28, 2024)
    Donna Fletcher sent these photos of hail in Battle Creek after overnight storms. (Feb. 28, 2024)

The county asked people to report damage to the Calhoun County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Management Division online. The sheriff’s office intended to put up a drone to help assess damage, but said winds on Wednesday morning were too strong to allow that.

As of Wednesday morning, about 2,000 Consumers Energy customers in Calhoun County were without power, the most of any West Michigan county. Most of those outages were clustered north of Marshall.

Inside woodtv.com: Consumers Energy power outage map

A Consumers Energy spokesperson told News 8 on Tuesday, before the storms, that the utility’s goal was always to respond quickly and restore power within 24 hours.

In Van Buren County, storm damage was reported southwest of Lawton, which saw an area of tight rotation. A tornado touch-down was not confirmed, so it could be the result of straight-line winds.

There were also reports of a tornado near Grand Blanc, south of Flint. Area police said no one was hurt, WXYZ out of Detroit reported. Consumers Energy reported more than 1,000 people without power in that area as of Wednesday morning.

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Only five tornadoes have ever been reported in Michigan in February. Four of those touched down near the Indiana state line on the same night in 2017.

—News 8’s Anna Skog contributed to this report.

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