Possible tornado hits rural Washtenaw County

National Weather Service to confirm if tornado hit Manchester

MANCHESTER, Mich. - A damaging storm -- including a possible tornado -- that swept through a small rural community in Washtenaw County has left behind torn roofs, broken windows and heavy emotions.

Manchester resident Robert Preis said he was jolted awake around 1:30 a.m.

"We were deciding whether or not to wake the children up and you could hear the winds start to change, that's when we made the judgement call. We went to the kids' rooms, got them up," Preis said. "I heard the wind change, it had that traditional ‘sounds like a freight train' sound. Even though it was dark, you could kind of see the colors start to change."

Preis said his family rushed to the basement.

"We almost had them in basement when some lawn furniture, heavy cast iron furniture, busted through one of the windows. That's when I knew it was serious," he said. "It tore the roof off the house, but the children's toys are still laying in the yard where they left them last night."

Preis, his wife, their two daughters and a visiting niece were not hurt.

When he went to check on the damage, Preis said he opened his attic door and could see right though the roof to the sky.

"We built this house one time, we'll build it again. This isn't going to move us from the area," he said.

Angela Diuble's home was also damaged. She grabbed her hearing-impaired daughter and made it to her basement just as window glass was breaking.

"I didn't realize how emotional it would be until we came back here this morning. But we're all safe, and sound maybe, and that's the most important thing," Diuble said.

The National Weather Service has yet to confirm that it was a tornado that ripped through the area. NWS crews are being sent to the scene Tuesday.

But despite everything, the community's fire chief says everyone is pitching in to help with the recovery.

"We have our community fair and parade tonight. So, we're working to clean the village up and get ready. So, the fair will go on," Manchester Fire Chief Mike Riesterer said.

Manchester is about 25 miles southwest of Ann Arbor.

The American Red Cross is helping anyone who was affected by the storms. Visit RedCross.org for information on how to donate or get help.

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