Tornadoes reported in West Michigan: Live weather updates

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Severe thunderstorms barrel through southern Michigan producing multiple tornadoes that cause significant damage.

In western Michigan, several tornadoes touched down in Kalamazoo County near Portage and Calhoun County.

In southeast Michigan, a tornado watch is in effect for Lenawee, Monroe and Washtenaw counties, as well as severe thunderstorm warnings, including hail and strong winds, for southeast Livingston County and southern Oakland County.

Follow below for live weather updates.

Michigan Weather Radar: View current conditions

The tornado that left St. Joseph County, mostly homes, in Sherwood Township, Branch County Emergency Manager Tim Miner said there were no fatalities or serious injuries.

There were no serious injuries

City officials say there were no serious injuries after Tuesday night’s tornado tore through several residential and commercial buildings in Portage, Mich.

In a 10 p.m. news release, Portage officials urged residents to continue sheltering in place and stay off roadways to allow access for first responders.

Whitmer declared a state of emergency

Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for several counties in southwest Michigan following the storm. Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Branch and Cass counties are included, according to a release from the governor’s office.

“My heart goes out to everyone in Southwest Michigan who was affected by the severe weather tonight,” said Governor Whitmer. “State and local emergency crews are on the ground and working together to help Michiganders. I have declared a state of emergency and activated our State Emergency Operations Center to ensure resources are expedited to the area. We will continue to monitor the situation and coordinate efforts overnight. All are working hard to keep Michiganders safe first. I also want to thank those who responded and we will get through this together.”

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A second tornado was confirmed in Portage, west of Battle Creek

An hour after a major tornado destroyed Portage, the National Weather Service in Grand Rapids, south of Kalamazoo, reported a second tornado touched down near Portage at about 7:20 p.m.

At 7:43 p.m., a separate tornado was confirmed by the National Weather Service west of Battle Creek near Galesburg, moving northeast at 40 mph. A severe thunderstorm warning, including quarter-sized hail and 60 mph winds, is in effect for parts of Calhoun County until 9 p.m.

FedEx facility collapsed; Many buildings were damaged after the Portage tornado

After the first tornado in Portage, several buildings were significantly damaged, including the FedEx facility.

Jude’s Barber Shop in Portage on Center Road also posted damage to its Plaza building: “The tornado hit our barber shop in Portage on Center Road. Fortunately, everyone is safe.”

Drone footage taken in Portage shows the extent of the damage caused by the tornado.

WBND-TV (South Bend, Indiana) Portage Mayor Particia Randall said, “Two tornadoes hit Portage this evening causing extensive damage to residential and commercial property. … No injuries or fatalities have been reported at this time.”

More than 27,000 consumer power customers were affected by the storm as of 9 p.m., and 3,100 Midwest energy and communications customers were without power as of 9:30 p.m.

Severe Thunderstorm Warnings are in effect for Jackson and Battle Creek until 8:15pm and 9pm, respectively, and surrounding areas with gusts up to 70 mph.

St. Joseph County confirms the damage

St. Joseph County Undersheriff Jason Bingaman confirmed damage was reported at several locations in the southwestern Michigan county Tuesday evening.

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“Right now, we are focusing on life-saving operations using all available resources, and then we will begin preliminary damage assessments,” Bingaman said.

What about Southeast Michigan?

According to the National Weather Service Detroit/Pontiac office, a severe thunderstorm warning is in effect for Livingston County and northern Washtenaw County until 8:45 p.m. with 60 mph winds and quarter-sized hail.

Currently, in southeast Michigan, there is a tornado watch for Jackson, Lenawee, Monroe and Washtenaw counties until 11 p.m., but the National Weather Service says the chance for tornadoes in these areas is still unlikely.

This is a growing story.

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