Tornado hits Michigan without warning, killing toddler, while twister in Maryland injures 5
Posted: June 6, 2024 - 6:31am

Laure 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)

LIVONIA, Mich. (AP) — A toddler was killed and his mother was injured when a tornado struck suburban Detroit without warning, while five people were injured when a tornado in Maryland collapsed structures and trapped people inside.

Officials in Livonia, Michigan, 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 National Weather Service in Detroit confirmed on the social platform X that an EF1 tornado with a peak wind speed of 95 mph (153 kmh) 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.

It has been a grim spring for tornadoes in the U.S., 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.

Tornado warnings were issued for parts of several other states on Wednesday night, including Ohio, New Jersey and Delaware. In New Hampshire’s Seacoast area, storms took down trees and caused power outages.

In Maryland, emergency workers responded to reports that people were trapped inside structures that collapsed after a tornado hit Wednesday night.

The tornado was spotted in a suburban area of Montgomery County northwest of Washington, the National Weather Service said in a social media post warning people in the area to take cover.

There were reports of three collapsed structures in Gaithersburg with people trapped inside, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson Pete Piringer said.

Piringer said the most significant damage occurred when a large tree fell on a single-family house, leaving five people injured, including one with traumatic injuries. He said they were all transported to a hospital.

Local television footage showed large downed trees that damaged houses when they fell.

David Pazos, Montgomery County Fire and Rescue assistant chief, said there were a lot of power outages.

“We don’t know what people’s needs are, so we’re having to go door to door to assess whether they need fire and rescue services or need relocation because of damage to their homes,” he said.

In Portsmouth, New Hampshire, fires at two homes on opposite ends of the city were believed to have been started by lightning strikes that happened within 15 minutes of each other, Fire Chief William McQuillen said. Both homes were damaged and one was considered uninhabitable. No injuries were reported.