Tornado hits Michigan, killing toddler

Laure (cq) Hibberd and her son, Johnny Hibberd walk past a downed tree at Rotary Park after a tornado swept through the area in Livonia, Mich., Wednesday, June 5, 2024. (Robin Buckson/Detroit News via AP)

By Associated Press

June 6, 2024

LIVONIA—Tornado-spawning storms tearing across the eastern US killed a toddler in a Detroit suburb on Wednesday.

Officials in Livonia said the tornado tore through several neighborhoods on Wednesday afternoon and developed so quickly that there was no advance notice from the National Weather Service or others that would have normally led to the activation of warning sirens.

The storm uprooted a massive tree that fell on one family’s house and came through the roof, landing on a bed where a woman and her 2-year-old were sleeping, officials said in a post on the city’s website. Crews worked for nearly an hour to remove the roof and parts of the tree and then lift the tree to get the victims out.

The toddler was pronounced dead at the scene, officials said. The mother was transported to a local hospital in critical condition.

A 2-week-old sibling who was in a crib in a separate room was not injured but taken to a hospital for an evaluation, Livonia Fire Department Chief Robert Jennison told WDIV-TV.

“This is a terrible tragedy for our community,” Mayor Maureen Miller Brosnan said in the statement. “Our hearts are broken, too, and we send our deepest sympathies.”

The weather service in Detroit confirmed on the social platform X that an EF1 tornado with a peak wind speed of 95 mph (153 kph) moved through Livonia. The agency said the twister traveled a path spanning over 5 miles (8 kilometers), uprooting trees and damaging some homes.

A representative from the weather service called it a spin-up storm that didn’t show up on their radars in enough time to issue a warning, according to city officials.

By late morning Thursday, 14,000 customers lacked power in southeastern Michigan, DTE Energy said.

It has been a grim spring for tornadoes in the US, where severe weather killed at least 24 people during the Memorial Day holiday weekend alone. April had the second-highest number of tornadoes on record in the country. The storms come as climate change contributes in general to the severity of storms around the world.

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