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Michigan Tornadoes

As part of this weekends series on tornadoes here is some information on some of the bigger past Michigan tornadoes.

According to the National Weather Service. Nearly 1,000 tornadoes touched down in the state from 1950-2012, making the state 20th in nation in the number of Tornadoes, In Michigan if you were to draw a line along M-46 across the state, the areas south of that line would be Michigan’s tornado ally. While most of the storms have occurred south of M-46 it should be noted that it appears over that time every county in the state has reported tornadoes, here is a map with the number in each county from 1950 to 2012 of course there are now more than that now.



While most Michigan tornadoes are on the weaker side with mostly trees down and some structural damage, but that has not always been the case. Here is a list of the top deadliest of the Michigan storms
1. June 8th 1953 Flint area 8:30 PM 116 dead 844 injured
2. May 25th 1896 9PM 47 dead 100 injured in Oakland county
3. April 11th 1965 7 PM 44 dead 612 injured The death toll: Branch County (19), Hillsdale County (11), Lenawee County (14)
4. April 3rd 1956 6:30 PH 18 dead 340 injured Hudsonville, Standale and Grand Rapids.
5. May 8th 1964 5PM 11 dead 224 injured. Anchor Bay area, north of Mt. Clemens.
6. April 11th 1965 6:50PM. 5 dead 142 injured Thirty two homes were destroyed and 192 damaged in the Comstock Park and Alpine area.
7. May 13th 1980 3pm 5 dead 40 injured in the center of Kalamazoo
8. June 5th 1905 3:30 PM 5 dead 40 injured Shabbona in Sanilac County.
9. June 8th 6:30 PM 4 dead 18 injured Telegraph road Monroe County.
10. June 8th 7:40 PM 4 dead 13 injured Big Island Lake, Iosco County
By far the worst day for tornadoes here in Michigan was June 8th 1953 lets all hope we do not see a day like that here again!
Here is a list of reported tornadoes here in west Michigan note some of the storms will be on both list.
1912: July 13th
A tornado strikes downtown Grand Rapids at 4:10 AM. Several buildings are damaged and nine people are injured.
1975: May 20th
A tornado injured one person as it destroyed two mobile homes at Byron Center in Kent County.
1923 April 21
: A tornado struck three miles west of Scottville in Mason County. It destroyed an unoccupied home and carried pieces of it over a mile.
1967: A tornado outbreak hits from Missouri to Michigan, killing 58 people. The worst of the damage was in northern Illinois, where dozens of people were killed in Belvidere and Oak Lawn. At least seven tornadoes hit Michigan, injuring more than 50 people and destroying dozens of homes. A tornado moved across the southern outskirts of Grand Rapids, doing heavy damage. Thirty-two people were injured and a total of 65 buildings were destroyed and another 60 heavily damaged. Another tornado injured eight people and killed 34 sheep as it moved from Westphalia to the south edge of Fowler in Clinton County.
1961: A tornado hit two miles north of Marne. One person was injured and three buildings were heavily damage September 22
1965: September 4
A tornado struck east of Grand Haven, destroying a barn, silo and factory. Debris was carried over two miles.
1985: July 15
A tornado touched down in the northeast section of Lansing and damaged 18 buildings as it moved to three miles north of Webberville in Ingham County
1965: April 11
The second worst tornado outbreak in United States history struck from Iowa to Ohio, killing 256 people. In Michigan, the worst damage is near the Indiana state line as two violent tornadoes moved on parallel tracks about a half hour apart, killing 44 people and injuring hundreds. A tornado struck northwest of Grand Rapids, killing five people in Comstock Park. One person was killed by a tornado that moved from near Dewitt in Clinton County to Bennington in Shiawassee County.
2001: Severe thunderstorms produced large hail, flash flooding, and two weak tornadoes. The tornadoes briefly moved through rural areas near Coopersville in Ottawa County and Cloverville in Muskegon County.
April 3

1956: April 3
Eighteen people are killed and over 300 injured as four powerful tornadoes strike western Lower Michigan. Hudsonville and the northwest suburbs of Grand Rapids are the hardest hit areas with 17 fatalities as homes and businesses were completely swept away by an F5 tornado. http://www.crh.noaa.gov/grr/science/19560403/
1974: The worst tornado outbreak in United States history strikes from Illinois to Alabama, with 148 tornadoes killing over 300 people. In Michigan, a tornado kills two people as it tracks across Hillsdale and Jackson Counties.

In closing I would like to welcome Gun Lake Deb back to Michigan for the summer,


newest oldest

I’m thinking wind chill its windy we are freezing at daughter #2 lacrosse game right now the sun is wonderful .. INDYDOG14!

Mark (East Lansing)
Mark (East Lansing)

Just came in for lunch. We’ve been out flying kites. It’s a great day for that.

Andy W
Andy W


ROCKY (Rockford)
Will it even hit 50 degrees on Saturday and then watch out a for a HARD FREEZE on Saturday night! INCREDIBLE!

1 day 3 hours ago

Already up to 51 in GR!! High Temps have been outperforming the forecast all week!

Andy W
Andy W

Looks like temps in the 60’s and 70’s after today!! Perfect SPRING weather!! Golfing and morels!!! Love it!! BRING IT!!!


Andy W
Andy W

Hmmm….guess we missed out on the snowstorm last night! Another Rocky failed prediction!

MichaelV (Otsego)

The NWS is having some issues with the servers in Michigan this morning so the main weather pages NWS graphics haven’t updated…

ROCKY (Rockford)
ROCKY (Rockford)

Lows in the mid twenties tonight! Now that is some serious April COLD! WOW!

Mark (East Lansing)
Mark (East Lansing)

The rain missed us overnight, but we probably could use some. Regardless, my lawn is nice and green. I may mow it for the second time this weekend. Trees are budding. So happy spring is finally here.

MichaelV (Otsego)

Cool morning – 36 here at the station. Not much rain fell over night, just .04. Welcome back to Michigan Deb….

MichaelV (Otsego)

thanks slim for the scary write-up on tornadoes in Michigan – though we have been going through a period of not much in the way of tornadoes or severe weather the past few years tornadoes are nothing to mess with –

Sandy (Hudsonville)
Sandy (Hudsonville)

Slim- Great info. Welcome back Deb. 🙂