‘Avoid the Gaylord area’ Michigan State Police say after tornado touchdown

GAYLORD, MI - Michigan State Police are asking people from outside the area to stay away from the Gaylord area, which the National Weather Service confirms was hit by a tornado Friday afternoon.

Multiple homes and businesses have been damaged in the area, police said with a Twitter update. They are in the area with local authorities.

State police said there are trees and power lines down, and some of them are blocking roadways, creating dangerous situations.

“Avoid the Gaylord area. Emergency crews are responding,” state police said.

Photos and video being shared on social media and with the NWS show heavy damage along M-32 in Gaylord. 

Video footage shows roofs ripped off and multiple commercial and retail businesses damaged, vehicles damaged, siding torn off retail stores and huge pieces of debris littering business parking lots and the roadway.

The tornado was confirmed by radar and by an NWS employee who spotted it just before 4 p.m. At the time, the storm was described as having a massive wall of clouds and was moving at 50 mph.

Very quickly after the storm passed through, NWS staff said damage was reported on the ground. 

An NWS survey team was being sent out today to check conditions on the ground.