DEXTER, Michigan. As much as possible, I tried not to be the tornado gawker. I probably failed.
Update: photo from Andy Fowler, map from National Weather Service.
Busch's was giving away water that had been donated, and cookies, to affected residents. Their store was very close to one of the neighborhoods that was worst hit (Huron Farms). With police blocking the entrance to that neighborhood, you had the feeling that the store was being exceptionally kind to its neighbors and that it was exceptionally lucky.
Second Street was worst hit in the old part of Dexter village. Every second house on the downhill side of Second had a blue tarp on part of a roof, but the uphill side had no roof damage. Several businesses on Second were damaged, including a laudromat that was completely demolished.
The tornado crossed the Norfolk Southern tracks right by the Dexter Mill. Several homes on Huron Street had blue tarps as well. The Dexter cider mill looked OK, but it was closed for the season. Damage at the Dexter Mill included large sheets of metal that had been twisted around like crumpled paper.
Downtown was completely normal with no visible damage. The Dexter Bakery smelled like a bakery that my great aunt might have taken me to 30 years ago. The Dairy Queen was serving up standard issue cones, with a long line in the unseasonably warm March summer.
Many trucks went past as I enjoyed my cone with trailers or truckbeds full of full-grown trees, cut into short logs or big chunks. Signs were up everywhere for home repair and remodeling, and a number of insurance companies had trucks or vans parked to take claims.
It was a remarkable storm, in part because of the damage, and in part because there was no loss of life. It could have been much, much worse. I am sure that residents of Dexter will be glad for construction to rebuild homes and put people's lives back towards normal.
Tornado path, National Weather Service. Collected from the March 2012 Dexter tornado page on Arborwiki.