The lieutenant governor reiterated the state’s commitment to ensuring that everyone in the area gets all the resources they need. He said officials were working hard to get power and internet back on, and he also reminded impacted residents to call 911 in case of emergencies.
Some areas have started seeing their power return, according to Michigan State Police Spt. Lt. Derrick Carroll, who was on hand at the press conference as well. He said outages for the area were originally at about 34%, but had been knocked down to 21% by Saturday evening. Many streetlights along the main thoroughfare in Gaylord were back on by Saturday afternoon.
According to Carroll, the death toll from Friday’s storm remains at two people. He said they were not going to provide a count of missing persons because that number has been constantly in flux.
“What’s been happening is… we’ll find a person, but then we’ll get another phone call from loved ones, and another one, and another one,” he explained.
Carroll said the Red Cross had received an immense amount of donations, and encouraged anyone in need of food, water, and other supplies like baby diapers, to go to the E-Free Church in Gaylord where a shelter has been established.
Keysor said deaths and injuries are a rare occurrence during tornadoes in Michigan.
“The state of Michigan, we don't get that many tornadoes in general compared to other parts of the country,” Keysor said. “And then statistically to get injuries and or deaths normally, these tornadoes have to go through populated areas.
"So the tornado that happened to hit the western parts of Gaylord — a mile further west, for example, it probably doesn't hardly impact anybody. So some of it is sort of statistically just sort of randomness that it happen to hit a populated center. And that just doesn't happen that often.”
The state averages about 15 tornadoes annually, according to the National Weather Service.