XI. Tornado Victims

The first fatality associated with this tornado occurred at approximately 4:12 p.m. Mrs. Mari Gilman was killed when a tornado leveled the Norge Laundry and Dry Cleaning business at 1614 West Main Street. She apparently was suffocated when a wall fell onto her as she sought cover in a gully outside of the Laundromat. She had just been married on Saturday, May 10th. Mr. Francis Hardy was killed by a falling tree as he rode his motorcycle on South Rose Street near Bronson Park between 4:13 and 4:17 p.m. Mr. Hardy served in the U.S. Air Force during the Korean war. Mrs. Christina Wellington was killed when the rear wall of the six story Gilmore’s Department store building and a pedestrian bridge leading to a parking ramp behind the store collapsed. She was a sales representative for Payot Cosmetics company at Gilmore’s and was leaving the store when the disaster struck between 4:13 and 4:17 p.m. Mrs. Lucia McFall was also killed when the rear wall of the Gilmore’s Department store building collapsed between 4:13 and 4:17 p.m. She was a customer at the store and was a teacher for eighteen years at Ramona Lane Elementary School in Portage. She was a graduate of Hope College. Finally, Mr. Raymond Moyer was killed on Wynn Road in Comstock Township at about 4:20 p.m. as he was transferring fuel and loading a fuel truck and winds tossed him from the truck. The tornado lifted between King’s Highway and Comstock Avenue, in central Kalamazoo County just northwest of the village of Comstock, at 4:25 p.m.

  1. Introduction
  2. Methodology
  3. Large Scale Synoptic Pattern over the United States on May 13, 1980
  4. Hourly Surface Weather Maps Focused on Great Lakes Region from 12 UTC May 13 to 00 UTC May 14
  5. Observed 12 UTC Soundings for Flint, MI and Peoria, IL and Data Derived from them
  6. Modified Flint Sounding
  7. Flint and Peoria hodographs from 12Z observed soundings
  8. Modified Peoria Hodograph (using 18 UTC surface winds in AZO)
  9. What are our most important significant research findings? What do we believe caused the Kalamazoo tornado? What can we learn from this? How can we use this information to aid in anticipating tornadogenesis in the Grand Rapids CWA?
  10. So what exactly happened? Chronology of events occurring between 3:30 and 4:25 p.m. EDT across Van Buren and Kalamazoo Counties.
  11. Tornado Victims
  12. Dr. T. Theodore Fujita’s Kalamazoo Tornado Findings
  13. A Personal Account of the Kalamazoo Tragedy
  14. Bronson Park Devastated
  15. Acknowledgments
Return to The May 13, 1980 Kalamazoo Tornado Case Study Main Page

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