'Torrential downpour': Heavy winds damage condos in Rochester Hills

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Posted at 10:25 PM, Jun 20, 2024

ROCHESTER HILLS, Mich. (WXYZ) — A storm swept through parts of Oakland County late Thursday afternoon. The heavy winds and heavy rain caused property damage. There was also flash flooding.

They lasted about 20 minutes to 30 minutes, according to residents in the King's Cove subdivision.

Neighbors worked to clear a path after multiple fallen trees blocked the only way out for residents who live on one impassible street.

The storm hit around 4 p.m.

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“It was really scary. It was very windy and very dark,” resident Manuela Dellatorre recalled.

She said she was at home at the time and was concerned about the possibility of a large pine tree behind her condo falling over.

“And then all of a sudden, I heard a thump and then water coming down. And I went upstairs and the tree had actually fallen into the roof, pierced the ceiling and then water was just rushing in," Dellatorre said.

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In an attempt to prevent damage from the leak, Dellatorre used buckets to catch what water she could.

"The association is great and they were able to just come in within a couple hours and cut the roof, cut the tree and help us out,” Dellatorre said.

Another condo's roof shared the same exact fate as well as a quick response from the condo association and its contractors.

Property manager Jim Dafoe said he was in the office and clubhouse when the storm hit.

“Torrential downpour. But winds came through real heavy," he said. “All of a sudden, we heard a big boom, and the tree came down on that side of the building — a big cottonwood.”

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Resident Anne Jahn said, "We heard that (cottonwood tree) come down and it hit our clubhouse and then it took out this truck and the back-end. It crunched it out, but they could still drive it."

Like everyone else 7 News Detroit spoke with, Jahn was relieved there's only property damage.

Dafoe said the priority for cleanup in King's Cove is making sure structures are secure and conditions are safe.

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“As long as nobody was hurt, that’s all we care about,” he said.

People were curious to know what type of storm this was. 7 First Alert chief meteorologist Dave Rexroth said the sudden and intense wind that occurred here is from what's known as a downdraft.

He explained, "With the high heat and humidity, the storms build very high very quickly. The water gets loaded into the top part of the cloud until it can’t be supported anymore. Then, the gush of rain pulls the air down with it and makes the strong winds fan out at the surface. It can become a feedback mechanism making these types of winds typically stronger than normal storm straight-line winds."