Michigan’s ‘Tornado Outbreak’ of 1997 Saw 13 Tornadoes in One Day
In 1997, a tornado outbreak saw 52 confirmed tornadoes in 72 hours in the US.
Michigan has seen some extreme weather throughout the years. When thinking about it, most people would assume that extreme conditions would relate to temperature. However, the Mitten has seen quite a bit of tornado activity as well.
Back in July of 1997, the state of Michigan was bombarded with a weather pattern that produced 15 confirmed tornadoes in one day. These tornadoes were part of a bigger storm system that lasted from July 1st until July 3rd. Overall, 52 tornadoes were confirmed across nine states and Ontario, Canada.
This Michigan tornado outbreak ended up causing quite a bit of damage and was responsible for the loss of seven people. Two were killed by one of the tornadoes and five people died after 100 mph winds blew a gazebo that they were in right into Lake St. Clair. Overall, the outbreak caused $135 million in damage (the equivalent of $230 million in 2021.)
July 1st, 1997
On this day, 20 tornadoes were confirmed across Kansas, Minnesota, and Wisconsin. The strongest of these occurred in Wright County, Minnesota, and was rated an F3 on the Fujita Scale.
July 2nd, 1997
22 tornadoes were confirmed on July 2nd across Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and Ontario, Canada. Tornadoes touched down in Michigan in the following counties: Arena, Crawford/Oscoda, Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Macomb, Oakland, Saginaw, and Wayne. Two F3 tornadoes were recorded in Michigan that day. The first was southeast of Clio which stretched for two miles. The second was east of Thetford Township and resulted in one death.
The other tornado-caused death also occurred on that day in Michigan when an F1 tornado touched down northeast of Holly in Oakland County.
July 3rd, 1997
Ten tornadoes were recorded throughout New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire. Four of these were rated F2 and the others were rated F1.
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