Sunday's Storm Caught Campground Off-Guard
The National Weather Service confirmed Monday (June 28) it was a tornado that toppled trees and trailers in a St. Clair County RV campground Sunday, killing one person and injuring four in its path, the Detroit News reported.
The tornado — one of three confirmed from storms that hit Michigan on Sunday — ripped through the Fort Trodd Family Campground Resort in Clyde Township at 7:07 p.m. In minutes, 95 mph winds uprooted about a dozen huge pines, tossed two RVs into a manmade lake and crumpled and flipped trailers hooked up on the 100-acre site.
The St. Clair County twister brings this year's tally for southeastern Michigan to seven, surpassing the region's average of 5 1/2. About 15 tornadoes have occurred statewide, weather officials say.
St. Clair County Sheriff Tim Donnellon said 75-year-old James Anderson of Mount Clemens was killed in the storm. A Monday autopsy attributed Anderson's death to weather-related impact trauma. Camp owner Kathy Hess said Anderson, who used the campground for more than a decade, was loved by all. Anderson usually camped with his wife. But Sunday, he was with friends at another RV, Hess said.
One of the injured, a 48-year-old woman, was released from a nearby hospital Sunday.
A 64-year-old woman and 46-year-old man were in intensive care Monday with non-life-threatening injuries. The fourth person, a 54-year-old man, had been in the ICU but was removed Monday, Donnellon said.
Macomb, Washtenaw and St. Clair County dive teams spent about eight hours Monday searching a section of the lake, while residents were escorted to and from RVs to collect belongings. No additional campers were found in the water, nor were any believed to be unaccounted for, Donnellon said.
The sheriff said the storm's severity wasn't anticipated.
"There were no warnings. We weren't under any type of watch," he said. "There was really no chance to make a run for it."
A second tornado of the same strength touched down at 2:31 p.m. Sunday near New Boston in Wayne County, damaging multiple homes near Willow and Clark roads. Meteorologists say a third tornado struck one mile south of Marlette in Sanilac County at 8:34 p.m. Sunday. The tornado snapped several trees and damaged homes.