Cass County issues local state of emergency Wednesday morning

CASS COUNTY, Mich. -- Following Michigan Govenor Gretchen Whitmer's declaration of a state of emergency in Cass and other surrounding counties in Michigan Tuesday night, the Cass County Board of Commissioners have issued a local state of emergency on Wednesday morning in response to a tornado that tore through the area.

The declaration states:

On May 7, 2024, the County of Cass, Michigan sustained severe damage, loss of property caused by a tornado. As a result of this situation, the following conditions exist:

Per the MEC power outage report, approximately 82.94 percent of Wayne Township residents have lost power, this in addition to severe and widespread damage to homes surrounding both lakes. There are several large trees blocking roads and approximately 100 power poles broken with multiple power lines having been compromised, impeding roadways and posing a hazard to public safety. Expected time for power restoration is unknown at this time.

Multiple fire departments and the road commission are working on tree removal and road clearing. Additionally, there is a definite need for debris management planning to address the significant aftermath of this incident. The complexity of these challenges requires coordinating and a swift response to restore normalcy and ensure the safety and well-being of the community.

Therefore, as the Chief Elected Official of Cass County, in accordance with Section 10 of 1976 PA 390, as amended, I hereby declare that a “state of emergency” exists within our jurisdiction as of May 8, 2024, and that local resources are being utilized to the fullest possible extent. The response and recovery elements of our emergency operations plan have been activated.

Residents can report property damage through this website.

Visit the county's website or the Cass County, Michigan Government Facebook page for updates.

On Tuesday night, Governor Whitmer declared a state of emergency for Kalamazoo, St. Joseph, Branch, and Cass counties after a severe storm system, including large hail up to four inches in diameter and at least two confirmed tornadoes, swept through the area leaving significant damage to buildings and roads.

“My heart goes out to all those impacted by tonight’s severe weather in southwest Michigan,” said Governor Whitmer. “State and local emergency teams are on the ground and working together to assist Michiganders. I’ve declared a state of emergency to ensure resources are expedited to the area and activated our State Emergency Operations Center. We will continue monitoring the situation and coordinating efforts overnight. I want to thank all the first responders working hard to keep Michiganders safe. We’ll get through this together.”

Officials say that by declaring a state of emergency, the Governor has made all state resources available in cooperation with local response and recovery efforts in the designated area.

"The declaration authorizes the Michigan State Police, Emergency Management and Homeland Security Division (MSP/EMHSD) to coordinate state efforts above and beyond what MSP/EMHSD has already been doing in conjunction with local agencies," state officials said.

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