70 Years Ago – F5 Tornado Kills 116 People in Genesee County
70 years ago, 116 people in Genesee County lost their lives in what is considered one of the deadliest tornados in United States history.
On Monday, June 8, 1953, at 8:30 pm an extremely vicious tornado ripped through the north side of Flint. This deadly F5 tornado that touched down in Genesee County is known as the Flint-Beecher tornado of 1953.
This Monster of a storm killed 116 people and injured 844. 54 children were under the age of 18 with multiple deaths occurring in 20 families. Not to mention, 340 homes were destroyed. Try to wrap your head around those numbers for a minute, it was nothing more than total devastation. It was so catastrophic that it's listed as the 10th deadliest tornado in U.S. history.
In the video below, one of the survivors who was only 4 weeks old at the time, was in the direct path of the storm. Their home was completely destroyed and all of their neighbors on all sides of their home died that tragic evening.
It's said that there were no warnings of any kind that evening and aside from the sky turning a funny dark color, no one was aware of what was about to happen.
According to Wikipedia, after leaving Beecher the tornado took an east-northeast path following just south of the Flint River where it ravaged farms causing more casualties and destruction near the rural communities of Genesee, Richfield Center, and Columbiaville.
The tornado stayed on the ground for 18 miles before dissipating north of Lapeer.
This Wednesday, June 8 marks 69 years since the deadly tornado ripped through our area.
It was the last tornado in the United States to kill over 100 hundred people until May 22, 2011, when 158 people were killed in Joplin, Missouri by another F5 tornado.