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Today marks the anniversary of the deadliest tornado in Michigan history

steve carmody
Michigan Radio

65 years ago today, Michigan was struck one of the deadliest tornado’s in U.S. history.

The powerful F5 tornado touched down north of Flintjust after 8:30 on the night of June 8th , 1953.

The twister’s 27-mile path of destruction tore through the small community of Beecher, home to 113 of the 116 people who died. The oldest victim was 80 years old.  The youngest was only 5 months.

Nearly a thousand people were injured.

According to the National Weather Service, 340 homes were destroyed, 107 suffered "major damage", and 153 suffered "minor damage". Another 66 buildings destroyed or damaged to farms, businesses and other buildings.

In all, the storm caused $19 million in damage, or what would be roughly $174 million today when adjusted for inflation.

The Beecher tornado was part of a violent string of storms across the Lower Peninsula on June 8th, 1953. Those other storms produced 10 additional fatalities.

There has only been one other F5 tornado recordedin Michigan in the 65 years since the Beecher tornado.  An F5 tornado is the highest level on the Fujita scale, with winds estimated at or above 300 miles per hour.

Steve Carmody has been a reporter for Michigan Public since 2005. Steve previously worked at public radio and television stations in Florida, Oklahoma and Kentucky, and also has extensive experience in commercial broadcasting.