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National Weather Service surveys damage from storms producing straight-line winds

500 block Fairview Ave. NE. photo
Patrick Center
/
WGVU

National Weather Service survey teams investing a possible tornado in Ada, Lowell and Lake Odessa have determined damage there was produced by straight-line winds of 70 to 80 miles per hour.

In Grand Rapids’ Belknap Neighborhood, a tornado has not been ruled out. That’s where WGVU’s Patrick Center assessed damage from 100 mile per hour winds.

“They were calling them gustnados. So, I don’t know if it was quite a tornado, but the winds were something I’d never seen before.”

“I’m Sidney Jones and I live in one of the houses that got destroyed.”

500 block Fairview Ave. NE. photo
Credit Patrick Center / WGVU
/
WGVU
500 block Fairview Ave. NE., Grand Rapids, Michigan

“The sky was green and the trees were just whipping all around. The roof from across the street basically flew off the top, hit our house, completely stripped our roof, caved it in in our kitchen area, our bathroom and my bedroom area….I remember I kept yelling, ‘Taylor are we going to die?!’ I was just very scared.”

“As soon as our roof was already like smashed in and everything, that’s when the sirens started going off. So, we were like, ‘Oh, my gosh!’ Like, we didn’t have much of a warning besides the power going out. If the power didn’t go out, I bet we’d still be sitting in our bed and, you know, smushed.”

I asked Jones how many seconds between her getting out of that bed and the roof collapsing?

Bedroom 500 block Fairview Ave. NE. photo
Credit Patrick Center / WGVU
/
WGVU
500 block Fairview Ave. NE., Grand Rapids, Michigan

“I would say like, five seconds. I mean, as soon as the power went out, my sister was like, ‘We have to go! This is a tornado we need to get downstairs. We need to find shelter.’ And, within five seconds of stepping out into the living room out of my bedroom. So, my bed is completely smashed and there’s just debris everywhere in my bedroom and my bedroom is very exposed. So, we’re just very thankful that it ended up the way that it did within split seconds.”

From the Belknap Neighborhood in Grand Rapids, Patrick Center, WGVU News.

Patrick joined WGVU Public Media in December, 2008 after eight years of investigative reporting at Grand Rapids' WOOD-TV8 and three years at WYTV News Channel 33 in Youngstown, Ohio. As News and Public Affairs Director, Patrick manages our daily radio news operation and public interest television programming. An award-winning reporter, Patrick has won multiple Michigan Associated Press Best Reporter/Anchor awards and is a three-time Academy of Television Arts & Sciences EMMY Award winner with 14 nominations.