Flint-Worcester Tornadoes

From Academic Kids

The Flint-Worcester Tornadoes were two tornadoes, one occurring in Flint, Michigan on June 8, 1953, the other in Worcester, Massachusetts on June 9, 1953. These two tornadoes are among the deadliest in United States history.


The Flint tornado

A tornado hit in Flint, Michigan on June 8, 1953. The tornado moved east-northeast 2 miles north of Flushing, Michigan and devastated the north side of Flint. The tornado dissipated near Lapeer, Michigan. Nearly every home was destroyed on both sides of Coldwater Road. Multiple deaths were reported in 20 families. It is, as of this writing, the last tornado to kill more than 100 people. One hundred and fifteen were killed, making it the ninth deadliest tornado in U.S. history. It is also one of only three F5 tornadoes ever to hit in Michigan. Another F5 would hit in Hudsonville on April 3, 1956.

The Worcester tornado

The storm system that created the Flint tornado moved east and another tornado hit in Worcester, Massachusetts in the early afternoon hours on June 9, 1953. Ninety-four people were killed. The tornado formed around the Quabbin Resevoir in Petersham, Massachusetts at 3:25 P.M. It then slammed into the suburbs of Barre, Rutland, and Holden before killing 60 in northern Worcester. The tornado ended at the Fayville (Southborough) Post office on Route 9, eighty-four minutes after it formed.

This tornado was on the ground for an hour and a half. In that period it traveled 46 miles, and injured 1,100 people. Debris was strewn eastward, reaching an observatory 35 mi (56 km) away. Debris was also strewn out over Massachusetts Bay and the Atlantic Ocean.

The severity of this storm remains in dispute. Observations classified this tornado as F4 in many communities, but damage was inflicted consistent with an F5 tornado in some locales.

1953 tornado season in perspective

Even though the 1953 tornado season only saw 422 tornadoes (which is half the nationwide average), the year saw some of the deadliest tornadoes, which included the Waco Tornado that hit on May 11.

How did a tornado hit in Massachusetts?

Massachusetts is part of the New England tornado alley which extends from central Massachusetts up through Vermont. Massachusetts has had an average of about 2.9 tornadoes yearly since 1950. The New England Tornado alley is most active in July.

Baseball team nickname

Founded in 2004, the Worcester Tornadoes are the independent Can-Am League (Canadian-American Association of Professional Baseball) expansion team that plays their home games at Fitton Field at the College of the Holy Cross, in Worcester, Massachusetts. The Tornadoes' CEO, Alan Stone, claims that "The name embodies the strength and dominating force the team will strive to display on the field." The name was chosen by local Worcester resident, Lynne Orsted, though she was joined by hundreds of others who entered the same name in a public contest held to chose the name of the team. Native-born and former Red Sox player Rich Gedman will manage the team for the opening 2005 season. Their website is located at: http://www.worcestertornadoes.com


  • O'Toole, John M. (1993). Tornado! 84 minutes, 94 lives. Worcester: Chandler House Press. ISBN 0963627708

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