Tornadoes cause damage in Michigan as severe storms hit the Midwest

Tornadoes devastated Michigan communities Tuesday evening as strong storms hit the Midwest, officials said, bringing more destruction a day after tornadoes in the Southern Plains killed at least one person and damaged dozens of homes.

Officials in Kalamazoo County in southern Michigan said they were responding to a tornado that struck Portage, a city ​​of approximately 50,000 inhabitants, Outbound roads were littered with downed power lines, trees and building debris.

There was destruction throughout the county, including significant damage to a Fedex facility in Portage, according to Andrew Alspach, spokesman for the Kalamazoo County Office of Emergency Management. FedEx said in a statement that there were no serious injuries at the facility.

Another a tornado warning has been issued for Kalamazoo County, including Portage, just as emergency workers were responding to damage caused by the tornado that had hit earlier.

Kalamazoo County officials could not immediately be reached Tuesday evening. About 20,000 customers in the county were without electricity, according to the data PowerOutage.us.

On Tuesday, as storms moved through the region, the weather service issued a series of tornado warnings in cities in Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan and Ohio.

About 13.5 million people in parts of Indiana, northern Kentucky and western Ohio were warned of an increased risk of severe thunderstorms through Tuesday evening, with the possibility of strong tornadoes and large hail. according to National Meteorological Service Storm Prediction Center.

The roughly 60,000-square-mile area could also experience frequent lightning and strong winds, according to the weather service.

A larger portion of the Midwest, including nearly 16 million people in portions of Illinois, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee, faced a slight risk of severe weather Tuesday.

The Weather Service also warned that storms hitting the region will produce heavy rain that could create some localized areas of flash flooding. Urban areas, roads, small streams and low-lying areas are most vulnerable, forecasters said.

By Monday night, at least 15 tornadoes were reported to hit parts of the Plains. A tornado up to two miles wide ripped through Barnsdall, Oklahoma, a town about 40 miles northwest of Tulsa, killing one person, an Osage County official said.

An Osage County official said it leveled about a third of the small town, which has a population of about 1,000, leaving numerous injuries. The Oklahoma Highway Patrol reported that up to 40 homes in the city were damaged.

The tornado also lifted the roof of a nursing home in Barnsdall, although all residents were not injured or killed, officials said.

Major Johnny Kelley said one person was reported missing.

“We are examining the debris very thoroughly,” Mr. Kelley said at a news conference Tuesday.

Considering the widespread destruction, it was “shocking” that there were so few coincidences, he said: “The devastation is quite substantial.”

The tornado also caused power outages in Missouri, Arkansas and Oklahoma. But by early Tuesday, power had largely been restored.

In Bartlesville, Okla., about 20 miles southwest of Barnsdall, city officials said rescue workers had rescued people trapped in a Hampton Inn and were recovering downed power lines early Tuesday morning. Only minor injuries were reported.

Rescue operations were also underway in the Osage National Reservation, where officials warned residents to stay off roads and damaged areas.

Johnny Diaz, Judson Jones, John Yoon AND Jesus Jimenez contributed to the reporting.