Mount Clemens, New Baltimore, MI Tornado, May 1964


Mount Clemens, Mich. (AP) -- Eleven persons were killed and more than 100 injured late Friday when a tornado that roared like a giant vacuum cleaner swept across southeastern Michigan.
Gov. GEORGE W. ROMNEY immediately left the Republican State Convention at Grand Rapids on the other side of the state to go to the disaster area.
Macomb County Sheriff LESTER A. ALMSTADT, who gave the death toll, said the twister smashed area was about two miles long and three-quarters of a mile wide.
"There is very heavy destruction," he added.
ALMSTADT said the search for bodies had been discontinued until Satruday morning.
The tornado appeared to have hit with the most force in Chesterfield Township, a residential area that lies between the southeastern Michigan cities of Mount Clemens and New Baltimore. All the dead were believed to have lived in the township.
ALMSTADT said the devastated area looked from the air as if a giant had stamped on it again and again.
Macomb County's civil defense director, CLEM W. SKIBA, said, "for a rough guess there are at least 200 homes that were pretty thoroughly demolished," SKIBA estimated at least 300 other homes were damaged but not destroyed.
SKIBA said he saw the tornado as it swept down on the area. He said "it bounced around, up and down, moving west to east."
Gov. ROMNEY left Grand Rapids by plane with three of his aides for Selfridge Air Force Base near Mount Clemens.
The base is just off Lake St. Clair, north of here. A housing area on the edge of the base suffered heavy damage. The base is about 20 miles from populous Detroit which was not hit by the twister although the metropolitan area was swept by fierce rain and winds.
Only two of the dead were identified immediately. They were MRS. BARBARA FORTON, 29, and SUSAN WESTFALL, 7, both of Chesterfield Township.
MRS. FORTON was identified by her husband, WAYNE, 33, who said the twister demolished his home and injured four small children, though none seriously.
FORTON, a truck driver, was not at home when the tornado struck.
"I was driving home," he said. "Then I saw the destruction. I ran to my house and it wasn't there anymore.

Mount Clemens (AP) -- Here is a list of identified dead in the tornado which struck southeastern Michigan Friday night:
Her daughter, LOUISE, 8 years old.
Her son, DAVID, 4 months old.
Her daughter, TINA MARIA, 20 months old.
MRS. DONNA MAE SOLOC, 24, of New Baltimore.
Her daughter, WENDY LOU, 6 months old.
SUSAN WESTFALL, 7, of New Baltimore.
MRS. BARBARA FORTON, 28, of New Baltimore

Daily Cpaital News Jefferson City Missouri 1964-05-09


footage of the devastation

Hi Doreen

I am currently working with Chesterfield township on a documentary video of what happened back in May of 64. I have just interviewed a handful of people and would love to see what footage you might have access to.

I would really appreciate

I would really appreciate the photos. I lived at Callens and Hooker Road in New Balitomre. I was 12 at the time.

I was 12 and living in New

I was 12 and living in New Baltimore. We were spared the torment of your family. I will never get over the fear, though. I moved to Fort Worth for 2 years - got back to Michigan last year. It's hard to believe but I prefer Michigan. 70 mile an hour winds are nothing in Texas but to me it is way too scarey. Hail the size of soft balls, the lightning and frequent tornadoes. Yes, I prefer Michigan. I lived between Keller and North Richland Hills. The ice storms were unbelievable. The fact that no one has a basement is not a good feeling.

there's a book???

I guess I need to make a trip back to my home area and check out this museum....see what I can find out about tornado info...
There's a celebration coming for this?? and bricks being sold??
I'd LOVE TO HAVE MORE INFO on this please !!!

can't see the pictures on picasa...need help

is there some way to get on picasa to see the pictures you posted??

Before the tornado we used

Before the tornado we used to play at your house. At least Susie and me or sometimes you, Lori, Brad and Steve would play at our house.

1064 tormado

I was In the same room with you at St. Joseph's. I had a broken leg and surgery on my head (no hair). Just talked to a man that is putting together a memorial for this coming May since its been 50 years in 2014. Hope life has been good to you.

Anchor Bay tornado (damage) photos

I would like to see those photos, including the actual tornado if you have it. I'm the one that attended St. Leonard School in Warren listed on the previous page. This happened on my Confirmation Day. Do you have a map showing the actual touchdown - damage path? Was Gratiot hit in any way? Thank you!

New email addy is:

New email addy is: [email protected]

Attn: Sabrina Riggs-Brackett

Thanks for responding, Sabrina. I didn't see your response until now (July 2013). Please send me your email address. Mine is: [email protected] Thanks.