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Kalamazoo County completes its assessment of tornado damage; FEMA to survey the damage

The top half of a white sided house was blown off completely by a tornado that touched down in Portage on May 7.  The screen door is still on it's hinges, but the entire wall to the right of the screen door is gone.  A white car and a black SUV are parked in a parking pad to the right of the driveway.  The trunk of the black SUV seems to have blown open, or perhaps it is debris from another metal object blown by the tornedo.  To the right of the house is a shambles.  From this angle it looks like the entire contents of the house was duped on the driveway and to the right of the house in a large pile.  Trees in the background are knocked over or stripped of all foliage.
Leona Larson
One of 49 homes destroyed by the tornado. Despite the destruction, there were no fatalities and no life-threatening injuries from the May 7 tornado.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency will be visiting Kalamazoo County to survey the damage from the May 7th tornado.

The Kalamazoo County Office of Emergency Management has completed its preliminary damage assessment: 49 homes destroyed, 118 suffered major damage and another 129 with minor damage. That’s not including multi-family buildings like apartments.

Emergency Management Director Mike Corfman said viewing it for himself was eye-opening.

“Until I actually started walking in and we started doing damage assessment, did we really realize it. Wow. Yeah, they said this was an F2 tornado, but it was one mile an hour short from being an F3.”

Kalamazoo County Emergency Management Director Mike Corfman stands on a well trimmed green lawn. He wears a black polo with the insignia of the Office of Emergency Management on it. The insignia is a circle made of four triangles, one blue, one red, one yellow, and one white. A black watch, gray pants and black belt round out his outfit. Corfman's right hand is outstretched, gesturing with his clip board towards something off camera. Behind him lies many damaged and fallen trees, a sign of the tornado that went through not too long before.
Michael Symonds
Kalamazoo County Emergency Management Director Mike Corfman announced the county's preliminary assessment of damage from the May 7 tornado on Monday.

Corfman added FEMA is on their way to do their own assessment and confirm the county's numbers.

Arriving Tuesday, Corfman said the FEMA assessment will be a more in-depth analysis to determine how much federal assistance is needed.

“We're taking this a little bit more personal, and we're trying as hard as we can to get the proper aid that we need from the federal government and all of our other partners.”

Corfman added that FEMA hopes to complete its assessment by Friday.

Michael Symonds reports for WMUK through the Report for America national service program.

Report for America national service program corps member Michael Symonds joined WMUK’s staff in 2023. He covers the “rural meets metro” beat, reporting stories that link seemingly disparate parts of Southwest Michigan.