Every spring as the weather changes, you can expect high winds…and possible tornadoes.

Michigan has its share of tornadoes every year, with the majority of cyclones in the Mitten’s lower half, between Saginaw and our southern border. According to the map in the Lansing State Journal’s Tornado Archives, the area surrounding Flint appears to lead the state in the number of tornadoes. Flint is followed by Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, north of Port Huron, halfway between Detroit & Toledo, and the southwest corner of the state.

Tornadoes, cyclones, twisters, funnel clouds, typhoons, hurricanes…..whatever term fits you and your location – these storms have been around since the beginning of time. So what we’ll do is concentrate on the info in Michigan from 1950-2021.

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From 1951-2021, there have been 46 tornadoes that are listed as causing ‘devastating’ or ‘incredible’ damage. Not one of those were in the Upper Peninsula, which seems to be the best place in Michigan NOT to get caught in a tornado, even though they've had a handful. Fortunately, as far as damage goes, the majority of Michigan tornadoes have caused either light or moderate destruction.

2001: Most crop damage: $490,000
1974: The most tornadoes in a given year: 43
1965: Highest cost of property damage: $310,175,000
1953: Most direct injuries: 982
1953: Direct fatalites: 127

1951-2021 TOTALS:
Direct fatalities: 244
Number of tornadoes: 1,194
Direct injuries: 3,381
Crop damage: $1,512,500
Property damage: $1,133,086,550

According to the website's map, there have been no recorded tornadoes in St. Ignace, Mackinac Island, Mackinaw City, Whitefish Point, or Charlevoix, to name a few. So batten down those hatches – once again we’ll get our share of high wind storms this (and every) year.

The gallery below shows some of the tornado damage that occurred throughout Michigan since the early 1900s...

Tornadoes in Michigan, Early 1900s


Howell Sanitarium, Early 1900s

Michigan Grocers, 1900-1960s

Still More Michigan Main Streets, Part 3

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