WWJ/Jon Hewett

Damaging Winds, Large Hail Strike As Strong Storms Move Across SE Michigan

July 26, 2018 - 2:22 pm

DETROIT (WWJ) - Residents in parts of the Detroit area were urged to take shelter indoors as a line of strong, gusty thunderstorms moved across Southeast Michigan Thursday.

Although a Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Wayne County expired at 2:30 p.m., some storm activity is still expected as the afternoon continues -- with gusty winds and large hail possible. Forecasters said metro Detroit residents should expect to see damage to vehicles and considerable tree damage; with wind damage also likely to mobile homes, roofs, outbuildings and power lines. 

Just after the severe weather moved in, video sent to WWJ by a Belleville resident showed large hail hitting the windows of a home, and coating the lawn outside.

Another local resident, Robert Gora, said he was driving back from a store in Belleville when the storm came out of nowhere, and strong winds and hail forced him to pull off the road. 

"The wind is going like crazy, we've got hail beatin' on the windows," he told WWJ's Sandra McNeill. "There was one time I thought -- because it was coming down at the hardest peak -- I kinda turned, and was kinda like, hung over my dogs because I thought for sure it was gonna break out the back window to my vehicle."

"I didn't want, you know, glass and whatnot to rain down on them, so I tried to cover them up as best I could," Gora said. "...It was terrifying."

A little earlier, trained weather spotters reported quarter-sized hail and 55 mph wind gusts in Ypsilanti, as well as downed trees in several areas.

David Haltman of Washtenaw County Emergency Management said damage from the storm in his area is widespread.

"Numerous reports of fire, and the Road Comission responding, again, on trees down that are blocking roads," he said. "I heard a couple reports of possibly a lightening strike that possible set a garage on fire and then two or three reports of formers that blew."

Areas with trees down include Lake Pleasant Road and M-52,  Textile and Ellis roads in Ypsilanti; and Manchester, southwest of Ann Arbor. Hail as big as golf balls was also reported., but not yet confirmed. 

No injuries were reported. 

A Severe Thunderstorm Warning for Washtenaw County expired at 1:45 p.m., as the system moved east out of the area. The NWS noted, however, that although the alert expired small hail and gusty winds are still possible as additional thunderstorms move through Washtenaw. 

As of 2:30 p.m. there were more than 30,000 home and busnesses without powere across Southeast Michigan. The DTE Energy outage map showed more than 10,000 power outages in and around Ypsilanti. Outages are also reported near Belleville and Romulus.  

Accuweather's Kerry Schwindenhammer said wind gusts and heavy downpours are possible in metro Detroit, into the afternoon, although the worst of the weather wrapped up by around 2 p.m. 

Meanwhile, be careful on the roadways. Drivers should watch for flooding in spots, traffic lights out and debtis, such as tree branches and limbs, in the roadway. 

Stay up to the minute on the weather with the live radar on our weather page HERE, and tune in to hear the larest on WWJ Newsradio 950, with traffic and weather on the 8s. >>LISTEN LIVE!