UPDATE: As of 3 p.m. Friday, the National Weather Service said that the tornado that hit between Williamston and Webberville was rated as an EF-2. This means winds were between 111-135 mph. The exact path of the tornado will be released later.
The following are 6 News Meteorologist Katie Nickolaou’s observations from driving around the storm-affected area in and around Williamston and Webberville Friday morning.
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) — Early this morning I drove over to the Williamston/Webberville area to assess the damage done by last night’s possible tornado.
The first thing you notice in the affected area is the smell of fresh-cut grass, which is due to the trees and surrounding vegetation that the tornado shredded. Some trees were uprooted while others were snapped in half like toothpicks, the tops of which I did not see in the immediate area in some locations. Because the trees all had leaves on them, they increased the overall surface area, thus increasing the force of the wind on the tree trunk, causing them to uproot/snap more easily than if they were bare.
Several houses had visible damage, including a few where the roof was either caved in or ripped off. Several houses had large trees/branches lying on top of them, with visible damage to the properties. Cornfields in the area were flattened by the severe winds, with the stalks lying almost on the ground. One barn was completely leveled with damage to the surrounding grain silos.
A portion of I-96 was closed down both east and westbound, with traffic from the highway being rerouted on backroads and through town.