After yesterday's devastating tornadoes in the Kalamazoo/Portage areas, it had me thinking, what was Michigan's worst Tornado disaster on record of all time?

Southwest Michigan Takes a Tornado Beating

I have been in the radio business for a long time and have mentioned several tornado watches and warnings, but this was the first time I ever told people in real time to take cover and was letting people know where multiple tornadoes had touched down and where they were headed.

Calhoun, St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, and Branch counties experienced most of the damage from the tornadoes that hit Southwest Michigan on Tuesday, May 7, 2024. It was Portage and Centerville that received the most damage. One of the twisters was clocked at 140 mph. There were reports of 10 tornadoes in Michigan yesterday with softball-sized hail in some areas. Over 30,000 homes and businesses were left without power. This was an unusual day for tornadoes in Michigan with some significant damage to Southwest Michigan.

Read More: Michigan Has One of America's Least Reliable Power Grids

What is Michigan's Worst Tornado on Record of All Time?

It was in 1953 that the infamous "Beecher Tonrando" wreaked havoc in one of Flint, Michigan's suburbs. This twister is the state's worst on record since records have been kept and one of the nation's most devastating natural disasters.

The "Beecher Tornado" ravaged the suburb of Flint. This brutal F5 tornado struck Beecher on June 8, 1953, killed 116 people and injured another 844. According to, this F5-intensity tornado was the last in the United States to result in over 100 fatalities.

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The F5 "Beecher Tornado" is the worst natural disaster in Michigan in the 20th century.

Tornado Damage in Southwest Michigan on May 7th, 2024

2024 Michigan County By County Tornado Risk Projections

Roof Gnome, using FEMA data and analyzing nearly 950 counties throughout the United States at moderate to high risk for tornados, was able to rank 34 Michigan counties for storm risks in 2024 and projected financial impact. Here's a county-by-county look at Michigan's Tornano Vulnerability.

Gallery Credit: Scott Clow