West Michigan counties with the highest tornado count

A home toppled by the twister on Samirick Avenue from a tornado that hit West Michigan on April 11, 1965.

Grand Rapids (WOOD) — Typically, about 12 tornadoes touch down in Michigan each year and history shows us several land in West Michigan.

TornadoHistoryProject.com shows the total number of reported tornadoes by county in West Michigan from 1950 to 2012.

>>MAP: Tornado History Project’s interactive map of tornado touchdowns in Michigan 

Most of those tornadoes were pretty weak. Only about 20 violent tornadoes have torn through West Michigan. A violent tornado is one that is an EF4 or EF5. Tornadoes this big level houses completely and throw cars. All of these tornadoes happened between 1953 and 1977!

Here is a look by county of how many tornadoes have been reported from 1950 to 2012. Keep in mind these are reported tornadoes. This is an important detail to remember because it relies on someone seeing a tornado and reporting it.

EBA Tornadoes 650x370
Number of tornadoes reported in each county from 1950-2012. Information via SPC and The Tornado Project

There are probably quite a few tornadoes in rural areas or farm land that touched down that no one ever saw. There are also probably several tornadoes that people like farmers saw on open land, that were never reported to the National Weather Service. So don’t be surprised if some of the higher tornado counts are in counties that have had higher populations through the years.

Dark blue lines: All tornadoes since 1950 Pink lines: F4/F5 tornadoes since 1950 (EF scale wasn't initiated until 2006) This tally includes only the counties of: Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa, and Van Buren. Source for tornado history data: www.geukesweather.com
-Dark blue lines: All tornadoes since 1950
-Pink lines: F4/F5 tornadoes since 1950 (EF scale wasn’t initiated until 2006)
-This tally includes only the counties of: Allegan, Barry, Calhoun, Ionia, Kalamazoo, Kent, Mecosta, Montcalm, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oceana, Ottawa, and Van Buren.
(Source for tornado history data: http://www.geukesweather.com)

This week, Storm Team 8 is taking look back at the deadly EF4 tornado that touched down in West Michigan on April 11, 1965 as its 50th anniversary is this Saturday. Below, take a look at our interactive map that shows all of the tornadoes recorded in Michigan on that day:

 

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