54 years ago Palm Sunday tornadoes struck
Thursday, April 11, 2019

LAGRANGE – Today marks the 54th anniversary of the Palm Sunday tornado outbreak.

At least 47 tornadoes struck parts of six states. Of the 261 people killed nationwide, 145 were in Indiana and 53 in Michigan. Property damage reached $145-million in Indiana and $51-million in Michigan.

An F4 tornado formed on the southeast side of Goshen around 6:40 p-m and tracked all the way to Brighton in LaGrange County. It killed nineteen people, nearly all of them in the Rainbow Lake and Shore areas of LaGrange County where dozens of homes were destroyed.

Another F4 storm formed in Steuben County and was actually a pair of tornadoes. It moved into Michigan, following an identical track about 30 minutes apart near East Gilead and Kinderhook in Branch Counties. It crossed Hillsdale and Lenawee Counties before lifting some 90 miles later in Monroe County. 44 lives were lost and 612 injured.

Among the changes that followed as a result of the Palm Sunday outbreak was the creation of tornado watches and warnings program.