Lt. Jim Corno, of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, described the scene in the area as a “disaster” as cars overturned and buildings were destroyed.
Munson Healthcare spokesman Brian Lawson told CNN that 23 injured patients were taken to Otzeko Memorial Hospital and 12 to Crawling Hospital. Eight people were treated at other hospitals outside the Munson system, he said. The Michigan State Police Department said the number of injured was 44.
The curfew will be in effect in the city until 8 a.m., officials said.
Meteorological officials said the hurricane struck at 3:48 p.m.
“It’s a bustling downtown area, and it went through it,” Corno told CNN.
“We’re not used to being here,” he said. “We don’t have sirens like the rest of the country.”
Jordan Avery, a member of the Gaylord Council, said some companies and businesses in the area were now “never there.”
“The city is ruined,” Avrey said, adding that he hopes his community can be rebuilt together.
The council member’s brother, Cape Avre, was driving home when the hurricane hit. By the time he got to his street, he saw that it was blocked. The 25-year-old said he parked his car across the street and walked.
“When I first arrived there was debris in the front and backyard,” he said, and his neighbor’s cars were also destroyed. “The building to the west of us threw their entire roof over our property.”
The witness describes seeing and hearing Twister
Video taken by Gaylord resident Brandon Smith shows debris being blown into the air after a hurricane.
Smith said he received a hurricane alert on his phone and went outside to see where it was.
“I looked outside and did not see much going on. A few minutes after that warning went out I saw the other side of the house and then I saw it coming over the trees,” he said.
Smith estimates he may have been a quarter of a mile from the hurricane, describing it as sounding like a freight train. He also said he heard a noise like the air compressor going off in the garage. “I imagine it was deaf to those in its path,” he said.
“We’m used to snow, it’s not bothering us, but that kind of weather shocked everyone,” Smith said.
“It was incredible to stand outside my house and see it in person. I was shocked and amazed, thinking, ‘The holy cow is in front of my face,'” he added.
The governor promised to help
Sean Christensen, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said CNN struck near Interstate 75 west of Twister City Center and moved east-northeast.
Governor Gretchen Witmer said his heart goes out to the people affected by the storm.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are approximately 25,000 people living in Gaylord and Otseko County. The village is 235 miles north of Detroit.
CNN’s Dave Alsub contributed to the report.