Family sheltered at work as tornado passed their home

By Trevor Sochocki and James Paxson

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GAYLORD, Michigan (WNEM) – The Gaylord community is still cleaning up after a tornado swept through Friday, killing two people and injuring more than 40 others.

Most of the area’s power outage has been recovered, but repairing the damage done could take months.

This tornado resulted in some scary moments for the people of the area.

“In all the years I’ve lived up here, we’ve had wind shear storms that have caused damage. We’ve had bad storms that have caused damage. It’s never been this bad,” said Steve Dreyer, resident of Gaylord.

Dreyer and his son Mike were sheltering at work when the tornado passed right by their home on Friday.

“I mean it went from blue skies to light gray to dark gray to rain to tornado and in five minutes it was done. It passed us so quickly,” said Dreyer.

The Dreyers still have no power. The winds shattered windows, destroyed side walls and uprooted plants.

A stump is what remains of a 40 foot tree. It survived devastating winds five years ago, but failed to survive a 150-mph EF-3 tornado.

The Dreyers are still waiting for insurance to check their home.

“It takes a day to process. And when I saw all the damage, I thought, thank my lucky stars, I’m healthy, my family is fine,” said Mike Dreyer.

The Dreyers’ damage isn’t as bad as Ardis Heacock Huff’s backyard.

“I was on deck telling my mother this was my kingdom. I think that was my first mistake,” Huff said.

Your kingdom is now a mess of twigs, glass and debris.

Huff’s husband Stephen was fishing in the Upper Peninsula at the time, but his dash cam captured video of the storm.

“And then suddenly the door to the stairwell slammed shut. Mom and I are in the stairwell. The doors all slammed. And it was just about – I heard the trees fall, I heard the linden tree – we have a bunch of five huge linden trees – I heard them fall through the house. I really thought we were done,” Huff said.

Aside from broken windows and rafters, the Huffs’ home is fine.

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