50 years later: A look back at ’65 Palm Sunday tornado

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1965 Palm Sunday tornado (file)_86957

Damage from the Palm Sunday Tornadoes.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — Fifty years ago at this time of year, West Michigan was still thinking winter. We had just finished the snowiest March we ever had in Grand Rapids and the fourth coldest March – snow shovels were still at hand.

April 11, 1965 was the first warm day of spring that year – the first day West Michigan hit 60 degrees and the first day to hit 70.

>>PHOTOS: A look back: The tornado of 1965

On that same day, 47 tornadoes struck five Great Lakes states, causing 271 fatalities and over 1,500 injuries.  An F4 tornado cut a path from Allendale to Cedar Springs with little warning. The winds tore down trees and leveled houses. The hardest hit areas were Comstock Park and Alpine Township in Kent County.

This week, Storm Team 8 will bring you firsthand accounts from people who survived the deadly twister as well as new changes in the way we warn for these deadly storms.

A significant tornado outbreak is possible this week from Wednesday to Friday from the Great Plains through the Ohio Valley and parts of West Michigan have already been put in a risk area for possible severe weather by the Storm Prediction Center for Thursday afternoon.

Each day at 6 p.m., Tune in to 24 Hour News 8 at 6 for a look back at the historic tornado and get the latest on the forecast ahead.

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