Dexter tornado damage: $8.3 million and climbing
Angela Cesere | AnnArbor.com
The latest estimate for total damage to homes and businesses from the March 15 Dexter tornado is nearly $8.3 million, but that’s likely to go up some as building permits for repairs and reconstruction still are being issued.
The numbers break down this way:
- Destroyed: 13 homes and four businesses
- Suffered major damage: 23 homes
- Suffered minor damage: 45 homes and two businesses
- Affected in some way (trees down, very minor damage to homes, etc.): 185 homes.
Officials estimate 99 percent of those losses are insured.
Beyond that, the costs to local governments and public agencies have been estimated at more than $1 million. That includes more than $500,000 for debris removal and disposal at 272 sites, more than $230,000 for emergency response, nearly $60,000 for damages to roads and bridges and more than $248,000 for damage to parks and recreation facilities, most of that at Hudson Mills Metropark at Dexter-Pinckney and North Territorial roads.
County officials hope that Gov. Rick Snyder will approve the county's application for state disaster assistance funding to offset the costs incurred by local governmental agencies.
Washtenaw County Emergency Services Director Marc Breckenridge said it’s possible that personal and business losses from the massive blackout that affected much of the East Coast and Michigan in 2003 exceeded losses from the tornado, but because much of that cost came from food, not structural damage, there’s no way for the county to track it.
Breckenridge said the county is fortunate in that the storm spent much of the time it was on the ground in areas were there were no houses and took a turn to the east that mostly spared the Village of Dexter. Much of the heaviest damage was to homes and trees along Deter-Pinckney Road and in the Carriage Hills subdivision and to homes along Dexter-Ann Arbor Road in the Huron Farms and Orchard River Hills subdivisions.
Had the tornado touched down in a city like Dearborn, for instance, the damage would have been much greater, perhaps three or four times as much, Breckenridge said.
The weather service rates tornadoes on the Enhanced Fujita Scale from EF-0 to EF-5. An EF-1 storm has winds of 86 to 110 mph. The weather service said that the Dexter tornado was an EF-3 storm with winds of 130 to 140 mph at its strongest point and covered a path 7.2 miles long and up to 800 feet wide.
The $8.3 million damage estimate “for an EF-3 in a community the size of Dexter is typical,” Breckenridge said. He expects to release a final tally of storm damage around the end of the month.
If anything good came out of the storm it’s this: The county now has a new crop of trained and ready Skywarn spotters, the people who scan the skies for funnel clouds in severe weather and report on tornadoes’ location, intensity and path. It was one such spotter who alerted emergency officials to the Dexter tornado touchdown, Breckenridge said.
“When we have significant severe weather it increases the desire across the community to be prepared,” Breckenridge said, “and one of the things people can do is attend Skywarn Training.”
The training is offered every spring. The county has 650 trained spotters this year, up from 573 last year.
View Tornado damaged areas in a larger map