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Significant Tornadoes

Significant Tornadoes in Michigan: 1882-2002

Since 1882, tornadoes have killed 343 people in Michigan

May 21, 2001 - Lower Michigan - 5 injuries.  An outbreak of severe weather resulted in 19 confirmed tornadoes, marking the largest number for the state for a single day.

July 3, 1999 – Oscoda County – A tornado struck the city of Comins. It cut a dramatic path of destruction through the center of the small town, leaving only a railroad caboose undisturbed.

July 2, 1997– Lower Michigan – 2 deaths. An outbreak of severe weather resulted in 16 confirmed tornadoes. Thirteen of those twisters occurred in southeast Michigan alone, making this the largest number for a single day in that area.

June 21, 1996– Saginaw County – 1 injury. A tornado in Frankenmuth destroyed four homes and damaged about 130 others. More than $5 million in damages resulted along the mile-long path of the twister.

June 13, 1994 – Jackson County – 2 injuries. The tornado carved a 16 mile path, damaging and destroying more than a dozen homes, numerous farm buildings and a hanger with a small plane.

April 24, 1993 – Ogemaw/Arenac Counties – 3 injuries. The tornado destroyed 17 mobile homes, three frame homes and numerous vehicles along its 7 mile path.

July 19, 1992– Delta County – 2 injuries. This twister touched down in the town of Gladstone, causing $4 million in damage.

July 13, 1992 – Cass County – 25 injuries – A tornado cut a path four miles long near Dowagiac, destroying homes, businesses and a migrant worker camp.

March 27, 1991– Lower Michigan – 3 deaths. Fifteen confirmed tornadoes among scores of severe thunderstorms caused over $30 million damage across the lower peninsula. Hail as large as softballs occurred in some areas.

August 14, 1988– Ingham County – 1 death. Twister touched down near the campus of Michigan State University and left a damage path for 25 miles across rural Ingham County. One man died when a tree fell on his camper.

June 21, 1987– Oakland County – 1 death and 6 injuries. A tornado touched down in a mobile home park in Novi, destroying homes with damage exceeding $1.7 million and leaving 138 people homeless.

July 4, 1986– Marinette, WI/Menominee – 12 injuries. The twister touched down in Wisconsin, then intensified after moving into Michigan.

May 13, 1980– Kalamazoo County – 5 deaths and 79 injuries. This twister followed Main Street through the center of Kalamazoo. The deaths occurred either while people were in the open, or under collapsed concrete block walls of stores.

April 2, 1977– Eaton County – 1 death and 44 injuries. This enormous tornado that was nearly a mile wide at times lifted a pickup truck and threw it 50 feet, killing a five-year old boy inside.

March 20, 1976- Oakland County – 1 death and 55 injuries. The tornado touched down in West Bloomfield. The death and most of the injuries occurred when cars were overturned at a major intersection.

April 3, 1974– Hillsdale/Jackson counties – 2 deaths and 31 injuries. Most of the casualties were in mobile homes.

July 4, 1969– Washtenaw/Wayne Counties – 44 injuries. A tile factory was destroyed and sheet metal was carried for over a mile.

April 11, 1965– Lucas County (Ohio)/Monroe County – 18 killed and 236 injuries. Four people were killed when the twister picked up a buss and slammed it down on the freeway. Part of the infamous "Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak".

April 11, 1965– Steuben, IN/Branch/Hillsdale/Lenawee/Monroe Counties – 44 deaths and 612 injuries. This event included two tornadoes, with the second following the first by about a hour. In Branch County, 19 were killed and 200 injuries. Six members of one family were killed in Lenawee County, and a church with 50 people inside was also destroyed.

April 11, 1965– Ottawa/Kent Counties – 5 deaths and 142 injuries. All 5 deaths occurred just north of Grand Rapids.

May 8, 1964– Macomb County – 11 deaths and 224 injuries. The twister touched down near Anchor Bay; cars were hurled hundreds of feet into houses.

May 12, 1956– Genesee County – 3 deaths and 116 injuries. This twister destroyed 5 commercial buildings and 141 homes and other structures.

April 3, 1956– Manistee/Benzie/Grand Traverse/Leelanau Counties – 2 deaths and 24 injuries. Originating in Lake Michigan, this twister ended up in Grand Traverse Bay. The worse damage occurred in Benzie County, just northwest of Thompsonville.

April 3, 1956– Allegan/Ottawa/Kent/Montcalm Counties – 18 deaths and 340 injuries. This twister touched down near Saugatuck and moved northeast; many businesses and homes were completely swept away.

June 8, 1953– Genesee/Lapeer Counties – 115 deaths and 844 injuries. This was the deadliest tornado in United States history, and the last single U.S. tornado to kill more than 100 people.

May 21, 1953– St. Clair County/Ontario – 2 deaths and 68 injuries. The south part of Port Huron was devastated by this twister. Approximately 90 homes were destroyed and another 300 damaged in Michigan.

June 17, 1946– Wayne County/Ontario – 35 injuries. The tornado moved from Melvindale into Ontario, hitting Ojibwa. It then curved north towards Tecumseh, but lifted just before crossing back into Michigan near Gross Pointe.

August 8, 1939– Kalamazoo County – 2 deaths and 75 injuries. The tornado moved from Pretty Lake, through the southeastern part of Kalamazoo.

March 28, 1920– Genesee/Oakland Counties – 4 deaths and 11 injuries. This twister damaged 20 homes and 15 cottages. One person died in a car.

March 28, 1920– Kalamazoo/Barry/Eaton Counties – 4 deaths and 25 injuries. At least 35 farms were left in ruins.

June 6, 1917– Calhoun/Jackson/Ingham Counties – 2 deaths and 29 injuries. This twister devastated the southern part of Springport, destroying about 35 buildings.

June 5, 1905– Tuscola/Sanilac Counties – 5 deaths and 40 injuries. At least three farms were "wiped out of existence", with nothing but a bit of kindling remaining.

May 25, 1896– Oakland/Lapeer Counties – 47 deaths and 100 injures. This massive tornado leveled many homes near Ortonville, Oakwood and Thomas. Part of the homes were found 12 miles away. Nine people were killed in one Ortonville home.

April 6, 1882– Calhoun/Barry/Eaton Counties – 4 deaths and 25 injuries. At least 20 farms were hit. One man was killed in the open when he huddled over his family to protect them as they tried running to a neighbor's for safety.