Flint, MI Tornado, Jun 1953
Flint, Mich.: June 8, 1953
Less than a month after the Waco tornado, another F5 monster ripped through portions of greater Flint, Mich., on June 8, killing 116 people and injuring 844 along a 27-mile path. Named the Flint-Beecher tornado, it is memorable for being the last tornado in the United States (as of this writing) to claim more than 100 fatalities. The Flint-Beecher tornado is rated as the ninth deadliest twister ever recorded in the United States.
This tornado was one of ten that hit southeast Michigan and northwest Ohio that afternoon and evening. The others caused a total of 26 deaths and 449 injuries with damage stretching from Alpena, Mich., on the western shore of Lake Huron, to Cleveland, Ohio.
Severe storms developed over southeast Lower Michigan in the afternoon, when a moisture-laden warm front moving from the Ohio Valley collided with a strong cold front moving east across Wisconsin. The Flint-Beecher tornado touched down at about 8:30 p.m. (CDT) two miles north of Flushing, Mich., and tracked eastward across Genesee and Lapeer counties to about two miles east of Lapeer, Mich., clipping northern portions of Flint. The tornado destroyed approximately 340 homes and damaged 260. An additional 50 farmhouses and businesses were destroyed and 16 damaged.
At its greatest intensity, the tornado path was more than a half-mile wide, obliterating all homes for about a mile on both sides of Coldwater Road in Beecher. Of the 116 deaths, 114 occurred in this four-mile stretch of the damage path. As in Waco, the Weather Bureau issued severe weather bulletins highlighting the threat of severe thunderstorms and tornadoes, rather than today's tornado warnings that provide details about tornado location and movement. Damage from this monstrous storm was estimated to be about $19 million ($127 million in 2002 dollars).
The 1953 Flint-Beecher Tornado occurred on Monday, June 8, 1953 and ranks as one of the top ten single deadliest tornadoes in United States history. Rated as an F5 on the Fujita Scale, the tornado touched down in Genesee County, Michigan at 8:30 p.m. and continued on a 27 mile (43 km) path causing 116 fatalities, 844 injuries and an estimated $19 million (1953 USD) in damage. Most of the casualties and damage occurred in the unincorporated community of Beecher, a suburb on the northern edge of the city of Flint, Michigan. The tornado was one of eight tornadoes that touched down the same day in eastern lower Michigan and northwest Ohio. It was also part of the larger Flint–Worcester tornado outbreak of severe weather that began over Nebraska and Iowa, before moving east across the upper Great Lakes states and Ontario, and on to New York and New England causing more deadly tornadoes.