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Posted on Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 10:22 p.m.

Storms down trees, knock out power across Washtenaw County

By Amalie Nash


Ann Arbor Street Art Fair patrons head for cover as heavy rains begin to pelt the Ingalls Mall area just before severe stroms and a tornado warning brought the event to a halt Friday evening.

Lon Horwedel |

July 24 update: 15,000 still without power in Washtenaw County - and more storms on the way

Thunderstorms slammed Washtenaw County this evening with winds reaching up to 82 mph in Milan and widespread power outages and downed trees, officials said.

The worst hit areas appear to be Dexter, Saline and Milan, according to the Washtenaw County Emergency Operations Center.

The storms that moved through around 6:30 p.m. resulted in high winds and many trees blocking roads, but no injuries have been reported, officials said.

Winds up to 62 mph in Ypsilanti and 82 mph in Milan were reported, said meteorologist Steve Freitag of the National Weather Service at White Lake Township.

art_fair_tents.JPG reader Bradley Cross took this photo at William and Maynard as the storms moved through.

Freitag said meteorologists received many reports of funnel clouds, but no tornado touchdowns.

A dispatcher with the Saline Police Department said police have received multiple reports of trees and wires down throughout the city, but no injuries have been reported. A roof of a building at 131 E. Michigan Avenue was lifted and slammed down during the storm, officials said. The apartments are above downtown businesses.

Department of Public Works employees were called in to remove trees and assess damage. "It's chaotic," the dispatcher said.

The storms came through the Ann Arbor Art Fairs during what would normally be a busy Friday evening. Marc Breckenridge, director of the county's emergency operations center, said his office began notifying art fair officials of the impending storms when they were about an hour away.

"It happened quickly, and we told them the storms were moving fast," Breckenridge said. "It was quite the wind storm, especially in Milan. That's what happens with a tropical air mass."

The storms dumped about 2 inches of rain on Chelsea, the hardest hit by the downpour, and about one inch elsewhere, Breckenridge said.

"That's actually great news because with all the rain still coming, it's not as bad as it could have been," he said.

A DTE power outage map updated at 7:46 p.m. showed widespread outages in Washtenaw County, with many customers in Ypsilanti, Pittsfield Township and Saline in the dark.

Freitag said some flooding was reported in Metro Detroit.

Another storm swept through the area later in the evening, dumping more rain, but additional severe storms missed Washtenaw County.

At 10:15 p.m., the National Weather Service canceled the severe thunderstorm watch, but a flash flood watch was to remain in effect until midnight.


Dr. Rob Borer

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 6:40 p.m.

I could have made it a little easier to find photos. Here is link to see some of the damage in Saline.!/pages/Saline-MI/Borer-Family-Chiropractic/114380938605727?__a=8&ajaxpipe=

Dr. Rob Borer

Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 6:37 p.m.

I can confirm first hand some of the damage that happened in Saline. Driving into Saline Saturday afternoon was like visiting a lumberjack chainsaw competition. Tree crews were everywhere. And my office was not spared. A large tree down on our property blocking the driveway. So patients arriving Monday - heads up! Use the neighbors drive to gain access to our parking lot. No serious damage - were open for business as usual. Check out our Facebook page to see more detailed pictures.


Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 7:25 a.m.

I guess Ed must be on vacation. Doesn't he typically post the power outage maps?


Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 6:26 a.m.

RE d00g - I was through that area last night before dark. Pretty spectacular damage, but for the most part everything fell west to east implying straight-line winds. We are fortunate to have made it thru the storm unharmed!


Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 6:17 a.m.

We were at the Summer Beer Fest in Ypsi. It was coming down so hard, that I had to deploy my umbrella while under a canopy! It was nice that the crowd was cheering and doing belly slides through the larger puddles.


Sat, Jul 24, 2010 : 6:11 a.m.

We got nailed - Scio Church 1 mi west of Zeeb. The amount of damage suggests we got hit with more than just gusts of wind, more like tail winds from a funnel cloud....debris was flying horizontal. Sad to see so much damage. We're safe....animals, house good.

Susan Schwartzenberger

Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 8:07 p.m.

We lost a beautiful 50-foot tall Maple tree in our front yard because of this storm. We are in Augusta Township, about a half-mile north of Willis Road on Stony Creek Road.


Fri, Jul 23, 2010 : 8:03 p.m.

is there any forecast for these storms coming from near chicago? according to the storm tracking on site the most severe storms appear to be staying south, but is there expert opinion that agrees with my hypothesis?