Remembering The Palm Sunday Tornado Outbreak

Posted at 3:26 PM, Mar 24, 2013

GREAT LAKES – While we inch our way closer and closer to Spring, today marks a sad day in weather history 48 years ago!

It was back on April 11 and 12, 1965 when 47 tornadoes ripped through the Midwest, including several parts of Michigan. It is considered one of the top five tornado outbreaks in the United States. 271 people died and another 1500 were injured across Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin just to name a few. On the old “fujita” tornado scale, there were 15 F1, 10 F2, 5 F3, and 17 F4 tornadoes.

In the heart of the FOX 17 viewing area, twisters touched down in Ottawa, Kent, Allegan, Barry, Kalamazoo, and Montcalm counties. I recently spoke to many of our parishioners at Holy Trinity Catholic Church in Comstock Park. Our church was torn apart by the twister that traveled through Comstock Park and Alpine Township. It hit the church, then headed over to the Swan Inn Motel. Part of the original crucifix that was mounted in the church on that day survived and is still on display. In fact, I saw it at mass today.

The attached historical photo was taken by Paul Huffman (Elkhart, Indiana) of a double twister that tore through the Midway Trailer Park and killed 33 people. As a meteorologist, I could write for hours on this event, but you can get more herefrom a link to a National Weather Service site that will provide many more details and storm surveys about this outbreak.

Just a footnote…remember that Palm Sunday and Easter dates float. They are NOT the same dates each and every year, so while the dates of this event occurred on April 11, Palm Sunday this year is March 24, 2013.

No severe weather is in our forecast over the next several days, but a moderate warm up is taking shape. Click over to for more.