Michigan sees tornadoes

At least three minor tornados struck southern Michigan.

BY TRAVIS DUNN | BALTIMORE | June 9, 2003



"There were no homes that were totally destroyed."

—Grace Ranger


At least three minor tornadoes struck southern Michigan Sunday night on the 50th anniversary of the most destructive tornado in Michigan's history.

Sunday night's tornadoes, however, caused no injuries and no deaths. According to preliminary estimates, the overall damaged appeared to be slight, according to Grace Ranger, director of emergency management and homeland security for Genesee County.

One tornado, which touched down near the Flint suburb of Grand Blanc, registered as a strong F1 on the Fujita scale, said Stephen Considine, a National Weather Service meteorologist in White Lake. The other two confirmed tornadoes one near Fowlerville in Livingston County and the other in Lapeer in Lapeer County were both measured as F0 in intensity.

Grand Blanc incurred the brunt of the storm, and more than 30 homes there had some damage, Ranger said. The damage was "anywhere from minor to significant, but I wouldn't say major," she said. "There were no homes that were totally destroyed."

Ranger said the damage will likely be taken care of locally.

"It looks pretty significant when you're out there looking around, but I don't think it's significant enough for a declaration of any kind," she said.

Sunday night's twister, however, were nothing in comparison to the F5 tornado that killed 116 people 50 years ago in Beecher. (Both Beecher and Grand Blanc are located in Genesee County.)

"Unlike the Beecher event," Considine said, "this was not nearly as significant."

The Beecher twister was such a memorable event that "an all-day affair" was held Sunday to commemorate the disaster, Ranger said.

The event included lectures, historical presentations and "a survivors reunion," she said.

Sunday's weather, however, continued to get worse as the day went on, until tornado warnings were announced that afternoon. Then the first twister touched down at 4:58 p.m. in Fowlerville.

"It's rather ironic, isn't it?" Ranger said.


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