Remembering the Michigan Tornado Outbreak of 1997
It's been 25 years since the massive tornado outbreak in southeastern Michigan that killed 7 people and injured more than 100.
The National Weather Service confirmed the touchdown of 13 tornadoes in the greater Flint and Detroit areas on July, 2, 1997, as part of a larger 3-day system that was responsible for more than 50 tornadoes throughout the Midwest.
The first deadly twister occurred just north of Flint in Thetford Township around 8:45pm. An F3 tornado stayed on the ground for nearly 2 miles, damaging and destroying several homes in its path. One person was killed when a tree fell onto a house, killing someone inside.
About 45 minutes later, an F1 tornado struck several mobile homes to the northeast of Holly in Oakland County, resulting in another death.
Though not directly the result of a tornado, five more people were killed as a result of the storm system in Grosse Pointe Park outside Detroit. They had sought shelter beneath a gazebo when a sudden storm unleashed high winds, blowing them and the gazebo into Lake St. Clair.
Other non-lethal tornadoes in Michigan that day included:
- An F1 tornado that tore a 13-mile path around 7pm northeast of Roscommon, downing trees in the Huron National Forest;
- An F1 tornado near Chesaning that damaged a handful of homes on its 2.5-mile path around 7:45pm;
- An F1 tornado near Maple Grove in Saginaw County around 8:10pm, depicted in the video below (language warning);
- An F1 tornado near Au Gres in Arenac County which destroyed or damaged several homes around 8:15pm;
- An F1 tornado outside Montrose in Genesee County, which tore a 2-mile track and knocked down several trees around 8:20pm;
- An F1 tornado near Burt in Saginaw County around 8:20pm which caused damage to one home;
- An F3 tornado in Genesee County that ran a 2-mile path just to the southeast of Clio which heavily damaged two homes around 8:30pm;
- An F1 tornado in rural Livingston County that tore a 10-mile path near Oak Grove around 8:40pm;
- An F1 tornado near Columbiaville in Lapeer County, which damaged several boats at Miller Lake around 9:15pm;
- and an F2 tornado in Wayne County around 10pm that injured 90 people and caused millions of dollars in damage in the Hamtramck and Highland Park areas, in addition to adjacent sections of Detroit.