Kalamazoo Tornado – 33 years ago today

May 13th, 2013 at 7:00 am by under Bill's Blog, Weather

isbside.jpg (25845 bytes) kalamazoo-tornado kalamazoo-tornado-2 Thirty-Three years ago today, an F3 (158-206 mph) tornado cut an 11-mile path from eastern Van Buren right through downtown Kalamazoo. In 20 minutes (about 3:40 PM to 4 PM), the storm left 5 dead and 79 injured. Damage totaled 50 million dollars (that’s 1980 dollars). Three hundred homes and 150 businesses were severely damaged or destroyed. Note the picture on the right and what it tells you about tornado safety. Go to the lowest floor…the first floor offered better protection than the 2nd floor…and stay away from windows. You can see the first floor windows are broken. Glass probably blew inward and debris could easily have come through the windows. Interior rooms on the lowest floor provide the best protection. Here’s lots of information on the twister. More info here. and here. Here’s more pictures, and here’s a map of the tornado’s path. Here’s a slide show from YouTube. Here’s a first-hand account of the storm.

25 Responses to “Kalamazoo Tornado – 33 years ago today”

  1. WhatBillwantstosaybutcant says:

    First! The medicinal weed is keeping you up to late to respond To the early ones Jack?

    1. WhatBillwantstosaybutcant says:

      Of the year that is.. I had an Aunt that “rode this one out”. Still talks about it. The whole freight train noise thing……….true..

      1. Brenda says:

        My cousin moved to Arizona after him because this tornado scared the daylights out of him and took him some time to shake it off.

        1. Brenda says:

          After this, not after him.

        2. Eric Hulliberger says:

          We haven’t even seen tornadic type weather systems in a long, long time. I always wanted to be a storm chaser, but Michigan is blah for that type of thing, but even the Midwest and Plains haven’t even seen many good weather systems yet this year either. 95 in Minneapolis, 86 in Chicago, but appears that hot weather won’t make Michigan, not that I’m complaining about 70′s, they are fine since my A/C took a dive, but I’d love to see a tornado or good, solid severe t-storm that the lake doesn’t break up before landfall on this side like last spring and summer.

        3. Eric Hulliberger says:

          And really Arizona is like an oven in the late spring through early fall.

    2. Jack says:

      Huh, what…. WEEDIES 4 Breakfast ? Lol.. Stay Cued….wbwtsbc… ;-)

      1. Julie says:

        I was there saw the widows blowing up. A elder man in the park had a tree fall on him.People were everywhere screaming and running. I will never forget the sounds and feeling so helpless.

  2. Vicki says:

    The headline says “33 years ago…” the article says “31 years ago…”

    Which is it?

    1. todd grant says:

      1980 bro

  3. Nathan says:

    Wow this is boring weather! Where are all of the spring storms?! (Not to this extent though :p)

    1. Nathan says:

      Well Bill will you be doing the weather outdoors today or is Laura taking over? And tell Laura I said hi and see what she says!

    2. Eric Hulliberger says:

      Agreed Nathan.

  4. John Van Lester says:

    A day I will remember as I sat 4 blocks from the center of it. felt it go by and let upstairs neighbor come into house to go to basement. pinned the front door to outside wall. then it was over. what a mess.

  5. Travis (Oakland County) says:

    Minneapolis supposed to hit 92 degrees tomorrow. The crazy spring swings continue.

  6. michael g (SE GR) says:

    This doesn’t sound great for Memorial Day weekend…

    @RyanMaue 3h
    Next Arctic front won’t be for at least 7-10 days. Plenty of time to watch for late May snow-showers in Michigan & Ontario.

    1. Jack says:

      No way…..I Say! That would SUCK!!! ;-(

    2. fixxxer says:

      It damn well better not snow then. Why the hell are we still getting these arctic cold fronts this late? I think its time for bill to tell us about how bad summer will be this year. And yes i saw this and had to reply.

      1. Jack says:

        Ha, Ha, May it Will Snow on The ORION FESTIVAL In JUNE…. To Fixxxxer… ;-)

      2. Brian(Grandville) says:

        It’s caused by global warming fixxer. But I’m sure you already knew that.

        1. Eric Hulliberger says:

          Global warming??? How about global cooling, that’s seems to be our weather this spring. Usually by now we’ve had at least 1 good severe t-storm, all we’ve had are cold t-storms that produced only a lot of lightning and heavy rain so far. And this is the time of year most of the good storms come up as spring gets warmer. Snow showers for end of May, what the?? Haven’t we had enough of Canadian cold air masses??

  7. Eric Hulliberger says:

    Its almost shaping to be like last year, but at least we had a much warmer spring, and a hot summer til mid-August when Fall came in early. And not 1 good t-storm I can even remember, unlike 2010 and 2011.

  8. Eric Hulliberger says:

    And really our dewpoints and relative humidity is almost like the desert states, maybe a bit higher, but we need higher dewpoints and humidity for good formation of severe t-storms along a dry line.

  9. Jerry hoag says:

    I remember back several years ago, I was living in Arizona and I called back home, here in Grand Rapids, michigan to say hi to my mother and father. When my mom said you won’t believe what is happening right now? I was like ummmmmm, snow?? And she said YES!! This was Memorial Day then, this was back in the early 2000′s. While I was in Arizona it was 106 that date! And the hottest it got that year before I came back to Michigan the same year was 120 degrees. Yes that was pretty darn hot but it was very toleratable!! You know they say a dry heat is much better than a wet heat!! And they aren’t kidding!! When I was in Arizona I loved the heat when we had it!!! It wasn’t that opressive as one might think it would be.

  10. bolobill says:

    I spent three days photographing damage for Howard Wolpe. Seems like it was just recently.

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