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NWS finds no conclusive tornado damage east of U.S. 131

Wednesday's storms caused power outages, closed roads, and significant damage.

Severe thunderstorms ripped through West Michigan Wednesday, leaving tens of thousands without power and causing significant damage to homes. However, the National Weather Service (NWS) says a tornado did not touch down. 

Tornado threat

Tornado warnings were issued for parts of Mecosta, Newaygo, Kent, Ionia and Eaton counties. Teams from the NWS surveyed damage east of U.S. 131 Thursday and found no conclusive evidence of a tornado touchdown thus far. 

Typically with a tornado, lofting of debris would be prevalent, and the NWS said so far they have not seen much at all. 

They said there was consistent damage from 65 to 80 mph winds from Grand Rapids to Ada and 70 to 80 mph winds from Ada to Woodbury and Lake Odessa. 

Crews will survey west of U.S. 131 to the Walker and Marne area on Friday. 

Credit: National Weather Service - Grand Rapids

Power outages

During the storms, 54,000 homes and businesses who use Consumers Energy lost power. But as of 4 p.m. Thursday, power has been restored to more than 42,000 customers.

Consumers Energy said the majority of people affected by the storms are expected to have their power back on by the end of the day on Thursday, and those who were hit the hardest by Friday. 

In Kent County, more than 9,000 customers are still without power as of Thursday. 

Greg Salisbury, the vice president said customers have been very understanding while they respond to downed wires and repair their system. 

"We want those still affected to know that we will continue working 16-hour shifts around the clock until the final customers have their electric service restored," Salisbury said. 

Salisbury advises the public to stay at least 25 feet away from a downed power line, and to report it to the police or Consumers Energy. 

RELATED: Communities survey damage left behind after severe storms

Closed roads 

Multiple people reported down trees in their yards and on the roads to 13 ON YOUR SIDE, but according to the Kent County Road Commission, crews have cleared the majority of downed trees and debris in the roads. 

However, there are still road closures due to issues with utility lines: 

  • Grand River Drive: Michigan Street to Carl Drive 2
  • Michigan Street: Taos Avenue to Grand River Drive
  • Conservation Street: Pettis Avenue to Dogwood Avenue
  • Dogwood Avenue: Pettis Avenue to Conservation Street
  • Pettis Avenue: Honey Creek to Egypt Valley Avenue

Home damage 

The storm caused significant damage to people's homes in the Grand Rapids, Ada and Lowell areas. There have been no reported injuries. 

RELATED: 'A jet plane crashing; it was so loud' | Belknap Lookout neighborhood hit by severe winds from Wednesday's storm

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