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Whitmer asks Biden for presidential disaster declaration for Southwest Michigan communities affected by May tornadoes

LANSING — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday sent a letter to President Joe Biden requesting a “major disaster declaration” and activation of the federal individual assistance programs for Branch, Cass, Kalamazoo and St. Joseph counties following an assessment of damage to the area.

The governor requested the declaration after four tornadoes and severe storms caused massive damage across the affected counties on May 7. 

“Michiganders across Southwest Michigan have been devastated by four tornadoes and severe storms, with many losing their homes and businesses,” said Whitmer. “I’m requesting a presidential disaster declaration so we can deliver critical financial assistance to support families, businesses, and communities as they recover and rebuild. Michiganders are resilient. We will get through this together, just as we always have.”

The severe thunderstorms and tornadoes that struck the southwest part of the state resulted in 16 injuries, and caused significant damage to homes, businesses and the power grid. Hail ranging from 1 to 4 inches in diameter was also reported along with dangerous straight-line winds. Debris removal and other storm related cleanup has lasted several weeks.

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