DETROIT — The tornado that touched down in Gaylord on Friday was an EF3 with winds reaching 140 mph, causing two deaths and 44 injuries, according to officials and the National Weather Service.
The twister ranks 16th in injuries and 21st in fatalities in Michigan since 1950, according to the weather service.
The last tornado to cause more injuries than Friday’s tornado in Gaylord was on July 2, 1997, in Highland Park when an F2 tornado injured 90 people, said Jim Keysor, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Gaylord.
There have been seven total deaths in Michigan due to a tornado since 1990, Keysor said.
“Among those seven this is only the second time in the last 32 years there have been multiple deaths from one tornado,” he said. “This is pretty rare.”
Gilchrist surveys damage
Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist II flew into Gaylord on Saturday afternoon, and was able to survey some of the damage in town before visiting the emergency command center set up by local authorities.
At a press conference at about 4:30 p.m., Gilchrist expressed his appreciation for all the work done by first responders in Gaylord over the last 24 hours, and said he and Gov. Whitmer were “praying for every single soul that has been impacted.”
“Two Michiganders that we’re aware of that have lost their lives as a result of this tornado. We want them to know that everyone in Michigan is going to wrap their arms around those families,” he said, from a lectern at Kirtland Community College.
Gilchrist noted that the Friday storm covered a lot of ground and caused widespread damage to both residential and commercial areas, saying it was important for everyone to try and wrap their heads around the scale of the devastation.