1980 Kalamazoo, MI Tornado

On May 13, 1980 a F3 tornado ripped through Kalamazoo, MI. An F3 tornado has wind speeds of 166-200 mph. Damages that come with these tornadoes are severe. Trains can be overturned, most trees will be gone, cars will be lifted, and the roofs and some walls of houses will be torn off. The tornado first touched down at 4pm outside the city of Kalamazoo. It made its way toward the east through downtown on the streets of West Main and Michigan Ave. The damage of the tornado started out not very significant, because it first touched down outside the city in a more open area. It caused little damage to trees and power lines. Once the tornado hit the streets of downtown, it devastated the community. Homes were destroyed, gravestones were overturned, and glass windows in tall buildings were gone. The mayor of Kalamazoo at the time, Edward Annen Jr. said, “This is the worst disaster our city has ever seen, but we’ll come back from this.” There were 5 deaths, 79 people injured, and about $50 million in damage. Today, the impact is still felt by residents. Bronson Park was destroyed, and it became very important in the cities recovery. A fund was started to replace trees. Most buildings have been restored or completely taken out.



Katherine Palmisano


3 responses

  1. I like this post because I am from Kalamazoo. I’ve grown up there my whole life and have had no experiences with tornadoes. This is interesting because it’s good to know that the danger is there. I’ve always felt very safe in Kalamazoo from tornadoes so this is a good eye opener. The only most recent death I know in Kalamazoo was of a police officer shot in combat dealing with a murder suicide case. Crazy thats all I can think of seeing as how 5 people died from this tornado. West main st. is five miles from where I live haha small world

    1. Andrew Urban ^

      1. I’m doing a report on kalamazoo and this article was a great source of information. It’s amazing to see just how many places have been devastated from natural disasters like this one.

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