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  • Writer's pictureHawraa Ktab

Multiple Tornadoes Hit Michigan, Killing 20 People

Written by Hawraa Ktab

Some meterologists used the word “tornado outbreak” to describe multiple tornadoes across an area. It started in Michigan 1956. Some eyewitnesses say that April 3, 1956 was a warm, humid, and harrowing day. It was 6:30 p.m when on the TV Frank Slaymaker, the weatherman reported that a tornado was coming towards Standale, and everyone should be at a nearby shelter immediately. The house had no basement that they were in, so the group had to go run to a general store to reach to the street for shelter. Pat said “ We could see the funnnel cloud coming straight at us. The tail was moving back and forth and everything in their path was being sucked up into it. The tail never left the ground. Electrical lines were sparking as the tornado took them.

As they were crossing the parking lot, the stores across the street were literally being sucked into the tornado. They ran into the store and down into the basement right before the tornado was about to hit. Pat said “the sound was deafening, he also said comparing it to several diesel trains passing just hit over your head. Pat said “The tornado ripped the store off the foundation, leaving the floor above us. It sounded eerie as the nails were being ripped away. Then the tornado was passed us. There was no air to breathe for a few minutes as it had been sucked away with the tornado. It was so quiet you could hear a pin drop”.

The 21 people that were crammed in the basement of the general store made it out all safe and okay. The weather on that day had wind from the south that had brought humidity and record breaking high temperatures. Muskegon and Grand Rapids had highs in the upper 70s, and Holland and Kalamazoo both saw 80-degree days. The strong cold that was approched from the west created severe thunderstorms where the warm and cold air was met in Wisconsin and Illinois.The storms crossed Lake Michigan, and later afternoon when they hit the west coast of Lower Michigan, they quickly caused tornadoes. In three hours, four powerful tornadoes found their way into the state. When it finally ended, around 20 peope were dead and hundreds were injured.


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