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The Screaming Sky

In June of 1953, a devastating sequence of tornados in the United States saw 247 deaths.   An F5 tornado hit Flint, Michigan on June 8, 1953. The tornado moved east-northeast 2 miles (3.2 km) north of Flushing and devastated the north side of Flint and Beecher. The tornado first descended about 8:30 p.m. on a humid evening near a drive-in movie theater that was flickering to life at twilight time. Motorists in the drive-in began to flee in panic, creating many auto accidents on nearby roads. The tornado dissipated near Lapeer, Michigan. Nearly every home was destroyed on both sides of Coldwater Road. Multiple deaths were reported in 20 families, and it was reported that papers from Flint were deposited in Sarnia, Ontario, Canada, some sixty miles east of Flint. Large sections of neighborhoods were completely swept away, with only foundations left. Trees were debarked and vehicles were thrown and mangled. One hundred and sixteen were killed, making it the tenth deadliest tornado in U.S. history. The death toll was surpassed by the 2011 Joplin tornado. It is also one of only two F5 tornadoes ever to hit in Michigan. Another F5 would hit in Hudsonville on April 3, 1956.