Tornado in Michigan damages more than 100 homes

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DEXTER, Mich. (AP) - Sometime after a tornado ripped through this rural Michigan village, a solitary hand rose from the rubble of a destroyed home.

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The first officer on the scene reached for the hand and pulled out an elderly man who was shaken but able to walk.

"That's the best part," Deputy Ray Yee said. "Every place I went to, I would have thought I would have found somebody laying there - deceased or whatever. But, knock on wood, everybody was OK." The twister that hit Dexter on Thursday evening damaged more than 100 homes and destroyed 13.

But no one was seriously hurt. "We're confident that we're not missing anybody," Fire Chief Loren Yates said Friday. Initial estimates were that the storm had winds of around 135 mph and lingered on the ground for about a half-hour, plowing a path about 10 miles long.

The tornado was part of a slow-moving system that also brought large hail, heavy rain and high winds. Gusts downed power lines, sparking fires.

Yates was amazed that no serious injuries were reported. He credited warnings issued ahead of the tornado.

By midday Friday, the buzz of chainsaws and the groans of heavy machinery filled the air as families sorted through the remains of houses that had been turned to splinters in the community northwest of Ann Arbor.

"I'm thankful to God that there were no serious injuries or fatalities with all this devastation," said Mark Olexa, standing in front of a 50-foot tree that was uprooted in front of his home. A nearby pizza shop and dry cleaners weren't spared.

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