Governor Whitmer declares a state of emergency in Gaylord after severe storms and tornadoes

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

May 20, 2022

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Governor Whitmer declares a state of emergency in Gaylord after severe storms and tornadoes

GAYLORD, Mich. – At the Gaylord Emergency Operations Center, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Otsego County after a tornado caused significant damage to buildings and roads.

“My heart goes out to the families and small businesses affected by the tornado and storm in Gaylord,” he said Governor Whitmer. “I have declared a state of emergency for Otsego County to move resources to 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 is no challenge that we cannot master together.”

By declaring a state of emergency, Governor Whitmer has made all state resources available in cooperation with local relief and recovery efforts in the designated area. The statement authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already done in collaboration with local agencies.

“I want to thank our brave first responders, our local police officers and firefighters, and the Michigan State Police Troops who worked to keep people safe,” he said Senator Jim Stamas. “It’s crucial that people stay indoors where possible and stay away from 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.”

Just before 4 p.m. on May 20, a tornado made landfall in the Gaylord area. Multiple injuries were reported and there was one confirmed death. There is widespread damage, including homes and businesses destroyed, trees and power lines blocking roads, and extensive property damage.

“The tornado damage at Gaylord is absolutely devastating. Brenda and I are praying for all of our Gaylord neighbors,” he said Rep. Ken Borton. “We pray especially for anyone who has lost a friend or family member – they have our deepest sympathy. We also pray for a speedy recovery for those injured. Police, first responders and medical professionals in our community are working particularly hard today and we thank them for their work to keep people safe and treat the wounded.”

Otsego County has declared a local emergency. Declaring a local state of emergency activates local emergency response and recovery plans. By requiring a statement from the governor, the county has determined that local resources are insufficient to address the situation and government assistance is needed to protect health, safety and property and reduce the risk of a crisis or to avert.

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