Wyoming works to clean up after Saturday’s tornado

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It’s the Monday after and residents and city officials of Wyoming continue to assess the damages left after Saturday’s tornado passed through the city.


The National Weather Service teams are currently surveying the damage caused and have confirmed tornado-related damage in Van Buren, Allegan, Ottawa and Kent counties. In its preliminary review, the National Weather Service has the tornado in Wyoming listed as an EF-0 which is weakest rating with winds between 65 to 85 mph. The tornados in Van Buren, Allegan and Ottawa were listed as EF-1 with winds 86 to 110 mph in the preliminary findings. The 2014 tornado that hit Wyoming was classified as an EF-1.


There were no related deaths or injuries from the storm just trees up rooted hitting homes and blocking roads along with a lot of debris.


“The teams at City Hall have been working through the weekend, answering residents’ questions, connecting them with the Red Cross, Salvation Army, etc.,” said Mary Ann Sabo with Sabo PR, the city’s public relations firm.


In fact, shortly after the storm, Mayor Jack Poll, in a video on the city’s Facebook page, was talking to residents and mentioned he was among the city officials going door-to-door in affected neighborhoods checking on residents. Other city staff was out clearing debris, inspecting structures and responding to medical emergencies.


In a statement released today, Poll said “Our Public Safety teams have done a tremendous job handling first response calls, and we so appreciate the support from Kent County and neighboring jurisdictions. Public Works, Inspections, Parks & Recreation, along with our Administrative team, have done an incredible job meeting the needs of our residents. Storm cleanup is well underway, with neighbors helping neighbors.”


Wyoming received helped from several departments from Byron Township, Caledonia, Cutlerville, Dutton, Kentwood, Georgetown, and Grandville.


Because of commitments to help clean up, Wyoming-Kentwood Chamber of Commerce President Bob O’Callaghan said they have lost a few volunteers for this weekend’s Metro Cruise, but the event is expected to take place Friday, Aug. 26, and Saturday, Aug. 27 as scheduled.


“The city has a crisis response plan that was immediately put into play,” Sabo said. “The process is to focus on immediate needs first, then turn attention to areas like parks.”


Due to damage and safety concerns, five of the city parks are close until further notice. Those parks are Pinery, Lemery, Prairie, Ferrand and Buck Creek. The Parks & Recreation team is contacting those with park reservations to see if events can be relocated or rescheduled. Reservations canceled by the storm will be refunded unless the reservation was relocated to another park or facility. For reservation questions, call 530-3164.


As of today, Consumers Energy has restored power to all but a few homes in Wyoming. Working with the American Red Cross, a resource center has been set up at Gladiolia Elementary School, 3500 Gladiola Ave. SW today through 5 p.m. and Tuesday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Residents may coordinate tree removal help and other issues at the center. The Red Cross will have disaster kits available as well.


Debris removal is probably the biggest item facing residents with the city’s yard waste center at 2660 Burlingame Ave. SW, being opened 24 hours a day through Saturday, Aug. 27. The city received kudos on its Facebook page for this with Kathy Walcott posting “Can’t say enough good things about [City of Wyoming]. Friends were amazed we dropped off over eight trailer loads of debris without paying! Thanks for stepping it up when it was needed.”


The yard waste center will be closed Sunday, Sept. 4 through noon Thursday, Sept. 15. Public Works crews are working on picking up debris. If you need the crew to come through your street or to make arrangements for a drop off at the yard waste center after Aug. 27, contact the Public Works Department at 530-7260. City officials are asking that all storm debris be placed behind the sidewalk and not in the public right-of-way.


Also the City of Wyoming is waiving the fees for building or electrical permits for storm-related repairs. Residents still must secure a permit before making those repairs.


Wyoming residents who need assistance that is not related to debris removal or have other storm-related questions may call call 530-7226 from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.