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Niles community continues cleanup, piecing together storm with ABC57

The Niles community is requesting the help of the ABC57 First Warning Weather Team, to piece together Tuesday night's tornado and storm.

It's a night that not many will forget.

"Tuesday night. It was a bad night for Niles," says Richard Huff, the Niles City Administrator.

High winds, hail, and a tornado, all hitting Niles and the surrounding areas. 

But Niles got hit the hardest, prompting Sturgis and Dowagiac to send their own crews to assist Niles in the cleanup process. 

"There's no real obligation for them to help, but it's great they stepped up," says Huff. 

The Niles city administration, taking action, the best they could: calling in police, fire, and street departments. 

40 homes, ruined. 500 customers, without power.  And numerous trees, utility poles, and wires, down.

But one piece was missing from the puzzle: a warning.

"I can find no indication that our area was even under a warning," explains Huff. "In fact, most of what I have found, is the threat level was below 2% for a chance of a tornado in our area.

Huff says without a warning, the city doesn't activate their sirens, and people were not notified. 

They use the National Weather Service, local media outlets, and their own tracking skills, to determine if and when a siren should sound.

But in Tuesday night's case?

"No one had any indication this was going to happen," says Huff.

It's something he, and the city of Niles, are pairing up with the ABC57 First Warning Neighborhood Weather Center, to figure out.

"When I was trying to find research information on this, [ABC57] was the one that had most of the historical data available," Huff adds. "I'm hoping the staff will help me put this timeline together."

A timeline that will help answer questions, and be used as a learning experience, for the next storm.

"They're all learning experiences. We always go back and evaluate how our response was," says Huff. 

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