Tornado leaves people dealing with devastating damage in Berrien County

By: Alana Greenfogel Email
By: Alana Greenfogel Email

While Chris Nye is waiting for his power to get turned back on, he’s seeking his own willpower to get through the fact that the roof of his house blew away and his trailer flipped onto its side.

"It doesn't do any good to cry,” Nye shares with a smile. “Laying here going, 'Woe is me' isn't going to solve anything. You've just got to step in and take over, deal with what the good Lord handed you."

Nye joins many of his neighbors outside their homes Sunday, not because they’re enjoying the day, but because they have major damage to clean up. Trees are broken and power lines are bent up and down the streets in Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph Counties in Michigan.

"It sounded just like a normal thunder storm coming in and then the wind picked up a little bit and then the wind picked up a little more and then it sounded like something I never really heard before," says Brandon Dinges, whose house is so badly destroyed you can see his living room piano from the street.

Nobody was killed or hurt during the storms. Experts at The National Weather Service confirm two tornadoes in Berrien County and one in Cass County, Michigan.

"Middle of the night. House is shaking. We ran to the basement. Grabbed the baby. Came outside to look at the damage. Chicken coup was gone. It was scattered all over the cornfields," Annette Boudreau shares, whose chickens huddled together during the storm and all but one survived. "We were just freaking out. Oh my God! Oh my God!"

Crews started working in the early morning hours to restore power. As of Sunday morning, about three thousand people in Michiana were in the dark.

"It's a tangled up mess,” says Fred Turk as he untangles knotted-up, fallen power lines. “That's all we do is fix them. Put new wire in, old wire, whatever we have to do to get it going so people can have power."

Up the road, Michelle Allen holds back the tears while pointing out where all her backyard furniture and playground equipment used to stand compared to the scattered pieces they’ve now become.

"Everything's gone,” Allen says. “Everything we had outside."

The wind actually picked up and smashed Allen’s trampoline into the road, hitting a car driving by. Witnesses say the driver kept on going, but the trampoline now looks like a pile of bent metal and crushed fabric.

"You work hard to get nice stuff for your kids and then in an instant it's gone,” shares Allen. “It's crazy."


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