On Friday, June 8, Marquette County residents sat out a night of intermittent hail and high winds, keeping a watchful eye on both the sky and the weather channel. Family members called each other to check in, worried about possible power outages and the potential for property damage.
But what really had people spooked was the tornado warning. The entire Upper Peninsula averages only about one tornado per year, and “Yoopers” generally consider themselves to be immune to natural disasters, taking blizzards as a matter of course. Understandably, then, tornado warnings are received with a mixture of skepticism and alarm.
By morning, this report was circulating: NOAA POSSIBLE TORNADO REPORTED AT EAGLE MINE. DEBRIS BLOWN AROUND, POWER LINE DOWN, NUMEROUS TREES DOWN.
A subsequent survey of the area by an National Weather Service representative confirmed the touchdown, estimating that the tornado traveled as far as eight miles and was as wide as 200 feet, with wind speeds of up to 95 mph. According to local media outlets, impacts to the mine site consisted of scattered ventilation tubes, several fallen trees and a section of crumpled fencing–but the tornado traveled on the ground for at least a mile before arriving at the northwest corner of the site.
Yesterday, some friends and I went out to have a look for ourselves, having to walk at least the last half mile due to downed trees on the road. In fact, the twister seemed to have followed this dirt road, with few trees damaged except in this narrow corridor. Some were uprooted, some twisted and snapped, and others had their tops broken off.
As for clean-up, it did not appear that any had been done, except to drag trees off of the perimeter fencing at the mine site. We cannot see beyond the berm.