Posted: Jun 8, 2020 / 03:02 AM EDTUpdated: Jun 8, 2020 / 03:02 AM EDT
Today is the anniversary of the Flint/Beecher tornado of June 8, 1953. The tornado resulted in 116 fatalities and 844 injuries. This is the most tornado fatalities ever from a single tornado in Michigan and it was the most fatalities in the U.S. from a single tornado until the Joplin, Missouri tornado of 2011.
The tornado was half a mile wide and totally demolished 340 houses. It stayed on the ground for 27 miles. Damage was estimated at 19 million dollars (in 1953 dollars).
Here is more information on the Beecher Tornado. The year 1953 was also one of the nation’s worst tornado years. Earlier that in the spring, a tornado ripped through Waco, TX, killing 114 and injuring 597. And the day following the Flint-Beecher tornado, the same storm system spawned a F4 Tornado in Worcester, Massachusetts that killed 90 people and injured over 1288. On May 21, 1953, an F4 intensity tornado roared through St. Clair County and the Port Huron area, killing 2 and injuring 68.
Here’s a map of the tornado’s path. A panel of experts voted the Flint Tornado as the worst natural disaster in Michigan in the 20th century.
Besides the Flint-Beecher tornado, at least 8 other tornadoes occurred in Michigan and Northern Ohio late on the afternoon of June 8th. An F4 intensity tornado touched down near Temperance, moved east through Erie, and then continued for another 44 minutes as a waterspout over Lake Erie, one of the longest waterspout tracks on record. Another tornado touched down in southwestern Washtenaw County and tracked several miles before dissipating just south of the Ann Arbor- Ypsilanti area. Yet another tornado touched down just northeast of Brighton in Livingston County and moved northeast across GM Proving Grounds into the Milford area. The 8 tornadoes in Michigan that day resulting in 125 deaths and 925 injuries.
More facts about the Flint-Beecher Tornado. Personal accounts of the tornado. List of the victims (note how many were children). Pictures of the damage. From the Flint newspaper. More stories – and a list of some of the injured. The Humane Society rescued 12 dogs and 1 cat after the storm. More newspaper stories (later in the summer). 8-minute movie on the twister and victims. One woman’s story of the twister and its aftermath. This man’s family survived the storm. 44-min. movie – survivor stories.