GAYLORD, Mich. – While at the emergency operations center in Gaylord, Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Otsego County after a tornado that left significant damage to buildings and roads.
“My heart goes out to the families and small businesses impacted by the tornado and severe weather in Gaylord,” said Governor Whitmer. “I have declared a state of emergency for Otsego County to rush resources to the affected areas, and the State Emergency Operations Center has been activated to coordinate our state's response. Our state is grateful for the first responders and utility workers who are working hard to keep everyone safe. Michiganders are tough. We are resilient. And there’s no challenge we can’t get through together.”
By declaring a state of emergency, Governor Whitmer has made available all state resources in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area. The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies.
“I want to thank our brave first responders, our local police officers and firefighters, as well as the Michigan State Police Troopers who have stepped up to keep people safe,” said Sen. Jim Stamas. “It is crucial for people to stay inside if possible and stay away from any downed power lines or debris. Let’s all hug our families a little tighter, and let’s all work together to rebuild and recover from this storm together.”
Just before 4 p.m. on May 20, a tornado touched down in the Gaylord area. Multiple injuries have been reported and there has been one confirmed fatality. There is widespread damage, including homes and businesses that were destroyed, trees and power lines blocking roads, and extensive property damage.
“The tornado damage in Gaylord is absolutely devastating. Brenda and I are praying for all our Gaylord neighbors,” said Rep. Ken Borton. “ We especially pray for anyone who lost a friend or a family member – they have our deepest sympathies. We also pray for a speedy recovery for the injured. Police, first responders, and medical professionals in our community are working extra hard today, and we thank them for their work getting people to safety and treating the wounded.”
Otsego County has declared a local state of emergency. The declaration of a local state of emergency activates local emergency response and recovery plans. By requesting a governor’s declaration, the county has determined local resources are insufficient to address the situation and state assistance is required to protect the health, safety and property to lessen or avert the threat of a crisis.
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