Click here to watch raw footage courtesy of CNN from the storm’s aftermath.
It started as just another typical Sunday (June 27) at a campground near Michigan’s Thumb. But by day’s end, there would be one person dead and four injured after a possible tornado touched down at Fort Trodd Family Campground Resort just west of Port Huron, according to the Detroit Free Press.
“This came through extremely fast,” Donnellon said Sunday night. “No one had any notice to flee or to protect themselves, no time to take cover.”
It was a tragic end to a dangerous day in metro Detroit as tornadoes hopscotched across the region, touching down twice in Wayne County and possibly in St. Clair County.
Buildings were razed, trees uprooted and power lines downed. About 4,700 DTE Energy customers were without power Sunday night.
But the deadliest spot was at Fort Trodd, nestled 65 miles northeast of Detroit, in Clyde Township.
“It was horrendous,” said Diana Gawronski of Warren, who was camping with her husband. “We hit the floor. That was it — five minutes and it was over …. But we’re OK, and that’s what counts.”
The wind picked up.
And hit hard.
“Stuff was falling out of the cupboards,” Ed Gawronski said Sunday night, recalling the storm that swept across the campground, overturning RVs. After it ended, “I opened the door and looked out, and it looked like a battlefield.”
The storm — a possible unconfirmed tornado — left one person dead and four injured. James H. Anderson, 75, of Mount Clemens was killed, said St. Clair Sheriff Tim Donnellon.
Three of the injured campers, who police did not identify, were hospitalized Sunday night at Port Huron Hospital, spokeswoman Barb Winters said.
She did not have information on their injuries or whether they were adults or children.
Jerry Dyer, 51, manager of the campground, said that he was watching the Weather Channel inside his 36-foot camper when an alert came on about high winds.
He said he immediately headed for the door to warn campers.
“I no sooner got to the door, then kaboom, the rain hit … and then the wind hit. It came out of nowhere,” he said. “It was devastating and it lasted all of maybe 35 to 40 seconds.”
All the campers were being sent home Sunday night, although a handful who had nowhere else to go were getting lodging assistance from the American Red Cross, police said.
According to the campground’s website, the Fort Trodd Family Campground Resort is a seasonal RV park on Lapeer Road in Clyde Township, 6 miles west of Port Huron.
It has acres of camping, picnic, playground and beach area.
On Sunday night, the campground was anything but picturesque with trees uprooted and RVs upturned and overturned everywhere.
Campers were corralled into one area of the campground after the storm so a head count could be taken.
Susan Cutcher, 55, whose backyard backs up to the campground, said no tornado sirens went off.
“All of the sudden everything started to blow around inside my house, so we started shutting windows,” she said. “It was scary, I tell you what.”