Twister – winds of up to 150 mph – tore through the state, tearing down the town of Gaylord, about 60 miles east of Travers City, on the lower peninsula, injuring 44 people, officials describing as “catastrophic” damage.
“It took a crazy building and endangered many lives,” said Jordan Avery, a member of the Gaylord City Council. “The city is ruined.”
According to Michigan State Police, both victims were at Nottingham Forest Mobile Home Park and are in their seventies. Authorities are working to inform the family of one of the victims.
In the bustling area of the city, shops, restaurants and retail shops were hit by the hurricane – some of which were destroyed.
Photos of the damage littered the streets, businesses with torn roofs and walls, and cars completely overturned. Roads were also cut off as trees and poles tilted.
“It’s a bustling downtown area, and it went through it,” said Lieutenant Jim Corno of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, describing the consequences as “catastrophic.”
“(Nottingham Forest) Mobile home park may have been 95% destroyed,” said Chris Martin, head of the Otsego County Fire Department. “The trailers were taken and turned one on top of the other. You know, there was a huge garbage dump from the trailers.”
Brandon Smith, a 26-year-old Gaylord resident, was standing outside his home a quarter of a mile from the hurricane when he saw it rolling over some trees and recalled that it sounded like a freight train.
“I imagine it’s deaf to those in its path,” Smith said. “We’m used to snow, it does not bother us, but that kind of weather shocked everyone.”
The state’s website shows that Michigan receives an average of 15 hurricanes a year. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 25,000 people living in Gaylord and Otseko County.
“This is northern Michigan, so it’s very rare for us to get a hurricane,” said Cape Avery, a resident and brother of the council.
Munson Healthcare spokesman Brian Lawson told CNN that 35 people were taken to their organization’s hospitals for treatment, and eight others were treated at facilities elsewhere. The Michigan State Police Department said the number of injured was 44.
Gaylord was under curfew until 8 a.m. Saturday, officials said.
The video, taken by Don Groobach with his companion in his truck as the hurricane headed towards them, shows the aftermath of the devastation.
The couple hid in the car wash room, and as they exited their vehicle they noticed the buildings around them being torn down, including an entertainment lobby.
A dozen homes and up to 50 cars have been lost due to the hurricane, Gaylord Mayor Todd Sharrard told CNN, clearing efforts are underway.
“Gaylord’s community is very strong and it is tightly bound,” Shurat said. “Cleaning is going on as we speak now. Those who have a chainsaw or a rack or spade among everyone are cleaning up our community.”
The governor declared a state of emergency
The hurricane was rated EF-3 by the National Weather Service (NWS)’s first damage survey. NWS meteorologists are continuing their damage assessment and will release additional details as the survey continues.
Twister struck east of the city center near Interstate 75 and moved east-northeast, National Weather Service meteorologist Sean Christensen told CNN.
Michigan Governor Gretchen Witmer declared a state of emergency in the district following the hurricane.
“We make all state resources available in collaboration with local response and rescue efforts,” Whitmer said during a news conference in Gillard on Friday night.
“My heart goes out to families and small businesses affected by the hurricane and severe weather in Gaylord,” he said on social media. “To the entire Gaylord community – Michigan is with you. We will do what is necessary to rebuild.”
CNN’s Sheriff Budget, Steve Almasi, Michelle Watson, Rebecca Rice. And Dave Alzub contributed to this report.