Multiple trees land on homes in St. Joe after microburst storm

NOW: Multiple trees land on homes in St. Joe after microburst storm

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ST. JOSEPH, Mich. – A powerful microburst storm thrashed its way through Southwest Michigan around 8 p.m. Thursday—bringing high winds, heavy rain and even hail—blowing over trees and taking out power lines in St. Joe and Benton Harbor.

Judy Denk, who’s lived on Madison Avenue in St. Joe for twenty years, said “It’s been a long time since it’s been this bad.”

While the damage was relatively minor for some, areas closer to the lake bore the brunt of the storm.

Along Nickerson Avenue in the Fairplain neighborhood, part of the roof was ripped off of a barn, and wound up on the ground.

Fences were crushed, and a tree came down and smashed the windshield of a pickup truck.

Crews from the Berrien County Road Department, still mourning the loss of co-worker William ‘Mack’ Isom—who was hit by a drunk driver while clearing downed trees on Red Bud Trail earlier this week—worked through the night to make the roads passable by morning.

Neighbors were out bright and early to clean up their yards, but some storm damage required more than just a leaf-blower and a rake.

One home on LaSalle Avenue had a tree fall and demolish its front porch—and nearly damage the neighboring home, saved by a mulberry tree that broke some of the fall.

Just one street over, two other homes weren’t so lucky.

“I didn’t hear the tree fall, but when the rain quit—I looked over there and saw all that,” said Judy Denk—gesturing to the remains of a tree that had landed on two homes and a Jeep.

“Their Jeep was just covered with trees, you couldn’t even see their Jeep in their driveway,” she said.

Cuyler Anderson, who lives in one of the houses hit by the tree, was at work at a downtown restaurant, Bistro on the Boulevard, when the storm rolled through.

“Next thing you know, the wind’s coming, tables are blowing over, glasses flying everywhere, people are bum-rushing inside when I get a phone call that a tree fell on our house,” he said.

Anderson’s wife and their five-month-old were inside the house when the tree blew over—and while they were okay—he couldn’t help but worry while he finished up his shift.

“People were giving me their orders and I was just writing stuff down thinking ‘what is going on at home, I’ve gotta get home, I’ve gotta get home.’”

Luckily the damage to their house was minimal—though their jeep suffered a broken rear window and a collapsed roof. Their next door neighbor was also okay.

While Anderson said he was still a little shaken up by everything that happened, he’s thankful nobody was injured.

“I’m just really grateful that everybody’s okay and that everything ended up being okay. Yes, the vehicle’s damaged, but we have full coverage, so hopefully everything can be taken care of, and we’ll be alright,” he said.

Anderson and his wife rent the home, so any damages to the property will be taken care of by their landlord.

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