What is a gustnado? Explaining Monday's severe weather in Southeast Michigan

More than a quarter of a million people are still waiting for the power to return on Tuesday. Many are heading to hotels or friends or neighbors after trees came crashing down onto their homes. 

In the community of Richmond in northern Macomb County, many residents thought a tornado had hit based on the damage and sound the storm made. But it was a gustnado.

What is a gustnado?

A gustnado is also known as straight-line winds and can cause damage similar to a weak tornado with winds up to as high as 110 MPH. That's not the speed of the winds that hit Richmond, however. 

The winds gusts were as high as 74 MPH on Monday.

It was northern Macomb County that was hit exceptionally hard. 

 "30 years cutting trees in this city never seen damage like this before," said John Meyers from Active Tree Experts.

The gustnado damaged many homes and businesses in Richmond - including Mattress King.

"The whole showroom is gone, our delivery truck is blown out in the back, my personal vehicle got hit by a tree," said owner Josh Kreger.

More: How to apply for reimbursement from DTE, Consumers Energy

DTE said more than 260,000 customers were without power. 

" We still expect that 80% will have their power back by end of the days Thursday and we expect 95% rest end of the day Friday," said DTE President Trevor Lauer.

Almost 4,000 lines were reported downed for DTE to tackle.

For Mike Conflitti and Ava Gauthier, the larger problem is the tree that ripped through their family home.

"As of right now we are living in a hotel," Conflitti said. "Basically the tree fell onto the top bunk of my son's bedroom."

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The teenager was the only one home when the storm knocked the tree over.

"All I hear is this loud bang and crunching noises. So I just thought maybe one tree fell on another tree," Gauthier said. "I immediately just took my dogs and ran downstairs."

It was supposed to be her first of high school but instead, she'll be at the hotel for a while.

"My mother-in-law is a real estate agent and she's looking for a rental property right now so I think it's going to be a while," Conflitti said.