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Residents Feel Muskegon Co. Storm Damage Was Done By Tornado

Posted at 11:40 PM, Nov 17, 2013
and last updated 2013-11-18 11:15:16-05

Muskegon County, Mich. — Some Casnovia Township residents said that the damage resulting from powerful winds Sunday afternoon reminded them of a tornado.

Joyce and Donald Brisbin of Muskegon County said they became frightened when the wind came screaming through the woods and fields near their rural home.

“It was rumbling, just like thunder that wouldn’t quit and I said, ‘We’re going to get some wind.’,” said Donald Brisbin. “Stepped in the house, then it hit. Then it rained really, really hard and after about a minute and a half or two minutes, it was gone, and we looked and this is the damage we got.”

Although they said the worst part of the wind seemed to last only for about two minutes, the damage was intense.

Their barn collapsed and one of the large boards from the barn was sticking straight out of the ground, driven in by those very powerful winds.

The structure had been standing for around 50 years, but Sunday it was reduced to a pile of boards and nails.

“First thing I seen was the barn flat on the ground and I said, ‘Oh my goodness, the barn`s on the ground’,” said Joyce Brisbin. “The roof of the barn is way over from the barn itself. Every tree is gone.”

“A tornado must have went through, split everything up here and knocked it down,” said Donald.

The same winds twisted trees and snapped off metal parking lot lamp posts at their base as if they were matchsticks at the Moss Ridge Golf Course in nearby Moorland Township.

Trees were pushed over and flattened there as well, their roots exposed.

A wooden billboard and wooden fence off of M 46 were also toppled over and flattened.

The wicked winds also pounded the beach in Muskegon.

Gusts there reached upwards of 70 miles per hour.

The lightning was prolific as well.It was responsible for a close call at a Muskegon home.

“It was a crack, and then a boom, boom,” said Johnce Jordan, a Getty Street resident.

Jordan was inside reading the newspaper when he heard the  powerful strike split the giant tree in two.

“It was a series of crashes. Because there was a lighting strike then the tree breaking and falling and hit the house and hit the ground. So, it shook the house a couple times,” said Jordan.

The tree crumpled a metal fence and grazed the roof, leaving a little damage near the gutter, but leaving the main portion of the home safe and intact.

“Just barely clipped the building,” said Jordan. “It was scary. It was scary. I have kids and everything.”

Both Jordan and the Brisbin’s say they feel fortunate that their homes and their families were spared.

“Feel very blessed today,” said Jordan.

“We just thank the lord our house is safe and we`re safe,” said Donald Brisbin. “Only God`s hand is in this and he spared us. We`re very happy for that.”

“These are just material things. The Lord really blessed us,” said Joyce Brisbin.

The Brisbin’s say their church, neighbors and friends are already stepping forward offering to help the couple in the cleanup process.

The National Weather Service has not determined whether the powerful winds that hit Muskegon County can be classified as a tornado.