What to know about the tornado that touched down Friday in Gaylord

‘It was like driving around a war zone’

GAYLORD, Mich. – At least two people have died, and 44 others were injured when a tornado touched down in Gaylord, Michigan on Friday, according to officials.

Both that are deceased because of the tornado were in their 70s and were found in the mobile home park in Gaylord.

Governor Gretchen Whitmer arrived in the Michigan city Friday night and declared a state of emergency following the area’s tornado and other severe storms.

The damage is severe, and officials say it will take days to assess how bad the damage is.

The National Weather Service has confirmed a tornado moved through the area around 3:48 p.m. on May 20.

In Saturday’s press conference, officials say that the tornado was on the ground for about 26 minutes.

There is a missing person hotline that can be reached at 989-705-3780.

Consumer Energy states that 9,000 are without power statewide as of Saturday morning.

Click here to track the power outages in the area.

Michigan State Police Derrick Carroll wants to remind residents in the area that several secondary streets are closed due to down power lines and debris.

If you see a down line contact Consumers Energy at 800-477-5050

Chief of Gaylord police Frank Claeys thanked first responders Saturday morning.

According to a news release from the Whitmer Administration, state resources are available for recovery efforts for the tornado-affected area.

“I want to thank our brave first responders, our local police officers and firefighters, as well as the Michigan State Police Troopers who have stepped up to keep people safe,” said Sen. Jim Stamas. “It is crucial for people to stay inside if possible and stay away from any downed power lines or debris. Let’s all hug our families a little tighter, and let’s all work together to rebuild and recover from this storm together.”

Pictures that show the aftermath of a tornado that touched down in the Gaylord area on May 20, 2022.

Officials say the damage is substantial as the people injured have been transported to multiple hospitals after the emergency facility in Gaylord stopped accepting patients due to lack of power as it is running on emergency generators.

There were at least 12 homes that were demolished because of the tornado.

At least one person has died and 44 others were injured when a tornado touched down in Gaylord, Michigan on Friday, according to Gaylord Mayor Todd Sharrad. Michigan State Police and Mayor Sharrad say the tornado first hit in a mobile home park and continued in about a two to three-mile span through the commercial corridor seen in the video player above.

A local church in Gaylord provided housing for those in need Friday night.

The E-Free church housed about 10 people as cleanup was underway the night of the natural disaster. The church was so impactful that the Red Cross was set up and ready to take people in just two hours after the storm hit.

The church provided wifi and power to those that needed it.

“I saw power poles snapped in half,” said Pastor Scott Distler. “You basically had to navigate like a warzone. You had to navigate around things just to try to get to her house and try to get her out of the house and into my house. And then I kind of went down in town just a little ways and started to see all the damage to the buildings. I didn’t even make it down to the worst part, but it was like driving around a warzone.”

Read more: At least 1 killed, 44 injured when tornado touched down in Gaylord: Everything we know so far

Consumer Energy will be providing meals to Gaylord residents on Saturday from 4 - 7 p.m.

The company will be the University Genter of Gaylord off of Livingston Boulevard handing out barbecue from Smoke Show LLC and Twin Turbo BBQ.

Below is a statement from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as she declared a state of emergency following the rare tornado that hit Gaylord on May 20, 2022.

I have declared a state of emergency for Otsego County to rush resources to the affected areas, and the State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to coordinate our state’s response. Our state is grateful for the first responders and utility workers who are working hard to keep everyone safe. Michiganders are tough. We are resilient. And there’s no challenge we can’t get through together.

Gov. Gretechen Whitmer

Check out: Pictures, videos show considerable damage from tornado in Gaylord area


About the Author:

Elizabeth Washington is a Digital Producer and has been with Local 4 News since April 2022.