After a week of classic car mania on Woodward, spectators showed up in the wee hours of Saturday morning to stake out their territory for the big event: The Woodward Dream Cruise. All along Royal Oak’s four-mile stretch of byway, lawn chairs and canopies dotted M-1.
Woodward is recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation as an Automotive Heritage Trail All-American Road, and Saturday morning it lived up to its name with.
But what began as a beautiful morning had many cruisers leaving by late afternoon, heeding the National Weather Service’s severe thunderstorm warning at 4:19 p.m., which included the statement:
"THOSE ATTENDING THE WOODWARD DREAM CRUISE ARE IN THE PATH OF ... STORMS AND SHOULD PREPARE FOR DANGEROUS WEATHER CONDITIONS."
Diehard fans ignored threatening skies, and some got the show of their life. Heavy rains and straight line winds in , one of the most popular areas to see classic cars. Many of the trees were uprooted or snapped at the base during the powerful storm.
Royal Oak resident Kim Johnson and others wondered why warning sirens were not activated as the storm approached. "... having been at Memorial (Park) in less severe weather and having the sirens activated - why was the warning system not activated this time - with 10's of thousands of people there? So grateful no one was hurt," she wrote on Royal Oak Patch's Facebook page.
Phil Kurimski of the National Weather Service said each community has its own criteria for severe weather emergency sirens.
“We do not tell cities when to turn on sirens, because most of them do not like to be told what to do,” he said.
Kurmiski said some communities only turn on sirens for tornadoes, while others do any time winds reach a certain level.
City officials did not return calls for comment on Sunday.
Doppler radar indicated there was not likely a tornado in Royal Oak. The only tornado reported in Michigan on Saturday was in Saginaw County at 3 p.m. It was part of the .
At 5:50 p.m. the Royal Oak police declared the Dream Cruise over: not suspended, but shut down. Officers on motorcycles encouraged those who were hanging on to go home, but many stayed until the Dream Cruise's publicized end time of 9 p.m and beyond.
Despite the severe weather, Beaumont Hospital spokeswoman Karen LeDuc reported the hospital did not receive any storm or Dream Cruise related cases.
Rearview mirror: The Dream Cruise
Patch provided from the five Patch sites along Woodward Avenue, culminating in the coverage below. Here are the stories and features that appeared throughout Michigan Patch sites on Saturday, with links back to the rest of the week's coverage as well.