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High Winds Cause Damage in Michigan

September 26, 1998

GAYLORD, Mich. (AP) _ Winds ripped through parts of northern Lower Michigan on Saturday, knocking down trees, ripping off roofs and causing extensive damage. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries.

``I would say we are very fortunate for the amount of damage that we had,″ said Jim Jacobs, chairman of the Otsego County Board of Commissioners.

Jacobs said the damage was caused by a tornado, although National Weather Service forecaster Keith Dicks said there were no confirmed reports of a tornado touching down. He said there were unconfirmed reports of funnel clouds.

Jacobs, who was at the Otsego County fire hall where emergency headquarters had set up its command post, said he had not heard any reports of injuries. Gaylord police Sgt. Don Hawver said there 10 reports of minor injuries.

Dicks said straight winds of 80 mph had hit Gaylord and East Jordan. There was no immediate answer at the East Jordan police department.

Jacobs said the storm, which hit about 1:20 p.m. Saturday, had not spared much of the city. He said half the county courthouse roof was ripped off, large trees were uprooted throughout the city, and emergency services was forced to moved to the fire hall because communications towers were blown over.

``It cut a swath right through town,″ he said.

The weather service issued a tornado watch for all of northern lower Michigan that was expected to last until 10 p.m.

Jacobs said crews were out trying to assess the damage.

He said one of the biggest problems facing officials late Saturday afternoon was people trying to drive into the city to see the damage.

There was heavy storms reported throughout northern Michigan. Trees and power lines were reported down in Montmorency County. One-inch hail was reported in Lachine in Alpena County.

Dicks said the bad weather stretched in a line from East Jordan to Alpena.

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