Oakland County requests disaster declaration on behalf of White Lake Township

Posted at 9:10 AM, Jul 30, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-30 09:10:43-04

OAKLAND COUNTY, Mich. (WXYZ) — Oakland County is asking the state to support a request for a "state of disaster" declaration after a tornado touched down in White Lake Township Saturday.

The request includes assistance with debris removal, repair of damages caused by wind or flooding, repair or replacement of damaged equipment and reimbursement for overtime costs for first responders and other employees involved in cleaning up.

The F-1 tornado touched down west of Teggerdine and Pontiac Lake Road at 7:54 p.m. Saturday and moved northeast with winds reaching 100 miles per hour. The twister’s path was 1.8 miles long and 400 yards wide, according to the National Weather Service.

There were no serious injuries or deaths related to the violent storm. But the county says 425 homes were affected, including 31 with major damage, and 70,000 Oakland County residents were left without power.

White Lake Township Supervisor Rik Kowall sent a request for a state of disaster declaration to the state on Sunday.

“The residents of White Lake have experienced what is hopefully, a once in a lifetime event and they have persevered. We are thankful that there was no loss of life and it was great to see so many people come together to help each other. As I worked with the first responders on clearing roads until the early hours of Sunday morning, it was not unusual for random individuals to stop and assist us,” Kowall said in a release. “Sunday daybreak brought to light the full devastation of the tornado. Now several days later, the residents of White Lake continue to help each other move forward. I am extremely proud of all our first responders and our resident’s resilience and sense of community.”

Oakland County Executive Dave Coulter sent a letter to Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday, supporting White Lake's request. The letter also asks that consideration be given to forwarding any state declaration to the federal government for additional assistance.

The last time a tornado touched down in Oakland County was on Sept. 21, 2014 when a F-1 tornado landed in Rochester Hills.