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Tornado harms town, not its people

Sat., March 17, 2012

DEXTER, Mich. – The twister that took aim at this Michigan village unleashed winds of 135 mph and lingered on the ground for a full half-hour, plowing a path of destruction that stretched for 10 miles.

But after the tornado melted back into the clouds, townspeople emerged to a remarkable surprise: Not a single person was seriously hurt. Authorities credited storm sirens that provided more than 20 minutes of warning.

The twister damaged more than 100 homes and destroyed 13. Yet everyone emerged unscathed.

“When you look at the path and you look at the physical destruction … it’s amazing,” Washtenaw County Sheriff Jerry Clayton said Friday.

Sometime after Thursday evening’s tornado, Deputy Ray Yee was surveying the rubble when a solitary hand rose from debris. He reached for it and pulled out an elderly man who was shaken but able to walk.

By midday Friday, authorities had accounted for the entire population of nearly 4,000.


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