I recently moved from the Chicago area to Flint, Michigan, and heard about a huge tornado here many years ago. Is this true?

Dear Tom,
I recently moved from the Chicago area to Flint, Michigan, and heard about a huge tornado here many years ago. Is this true?
Frank Mala, Flint, Michigan

Dear Frank,
It is indeed true. The Flint-Beecher tornado of June 8, 1953, ranks as Michigan’s worst tornado disaster and, in records dating from 1950, the second-worst single tornado (behind only the Joplin, Missouri, tornado of May 22, 2011) to occur in the United States. The tornado touched down at 7:30 pm CST and remained on the ground for 27 miles, moving mainly through rural areas and farmland, but most of the damage and loss of life occurred in Beecher, a Flint suburb. One hundred sixteen lives were lost (113 in Beecher) and an additional 844 injured. The tornado is rated F5 and had a path width at times of one-half mile. Six other tornadoes (claiming nine lives) developed that evening in eastern Michigan.