"Death Out Of Darkness" is a public safety documentary about the deadly tornadoes of the 11-April-1965 Palm Sunday tornado outbreak, which affected portions of Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Ohio, and Wisconsin. The film primarily focuses on the devastation across Northern and Central Indiana. Produced in 1966 by the Indiana State Police and WISH-TV in Indianapolis, narrated by Lt. Dave Levendoski. Video from visualarchivist on YouTube. There were 47 tornadoes in less than 12 hours. This was the 3rd deadliest tornado swarm in U.S. history. See Also: Ted Fujita


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Personal Stories:

Michigan Tornadoes and their paths April 11-12 1965
Photo from NOAA Northern Indiana Click to Enlarge
With the telephone lines down, emergency services in Elkhart County, Indiana, could not warn Michigan residents that the tornadoes were headed their way. The radar operator at theU.S. Weather Bureau, at Detroit Metro Airport, observed that the thunderstorms over northern Indiana and western Lower Michigan, were moving east-northeast at 70 mph (112 km/h). In Michigan, tornadoes hit as far north as Kent County, Michigan, just north of Grand Rapids. Of the southernmost counties of Michigan, all but three (Berrien, Cass, and St. Josephcounties) were hit. Two F4 tornadoes struck Hillsdale County and destroyed about 200 cottages along Baw Beese Lake. Many people escaped harm as they were in church instead of out at the lake. Later, the Manitou Beach-Devils Lake area in Lenawee County was hit by two tornadoes (both an F4) in a span of a little more than 30 minutes, causing numerous fatalities (including a family of six). The local dance pavilion on Devils Lake was demolished, it had just recently been rebuilt after having been destroyed by a fire on Labor Day in 1963. One of the tornadoes damaged parts of Onsted; in the nearby village of Tipton, which suffered a direct hit, 94% of the town's buildings were damaged or destroyed.

One or two F-4 tornadoes struck the then-Village of Milan, south of Ann Arbor, straddling the county line in southeastern Washtenaw County (York Township) and northwestern Monroe County (Milan Township). One tornado destroyed the Wolverine Plastics building on the Monroe County side of town (then, the top employer in the village), completely removing the roof in the process. That or the other tornado then struck and seriously damaged the Milan Junior High School and the adjacent, disused (since 1958) senior high school, at Hurd and North streets, on the Washtenaw County side of Milan. Milan became a city in 1967; opened a new Middle School in 1969, which replaced the old Junior High School; and the 1900 building that housed the former junior and senior high schools was eventually demolished.