Local filmmaker captures story of deadly Beecher tornado - WNEM TV 5

Local filmmaker captures story of deadly Beecher tornado

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Source: The Screaming Sky Source: The Screaming Sky

The tornado that cut a path of death and destruction from Flushing to Lapeer is set to be the star of its own film.

In a new documentary, "The Screaming Sky," a local filmmaker is capturing the story of the Beecher-Flint tornado is 1953. It’s remembered as one of the deadliest in American history.

“The tornado started in Flushing and it went all the way to Lapeer. And the magnitude of it was huge. It was a half mile wide, which is like our football fields,” Filmmaker Matt Woodbury described.

The tornado killed 116 people and injured more than 800.

The F-5 twister is one the deadliest tornadoes in U.S. history.

Woodbury, an avid filmmaker, decided to make a documentary on the horrific disaster calling it a massive part of the community's history.

“People that seen it, they tagged it as the Finger of God. I can’t even fathom seeing something like that in real life,” Woodbury said.

Woodbury found the people that did see it. He was able to interview 25 people that still remember the deadly day, 63 years later.

“The newspapers were full of devastation and horror. Mrs. Kreska was killed by an 8x8 board. What we saw was devastating,” a resident said in the documentary.

Woodbury said there use to be multiple plaques that were stolen in memory of the lives lost in the Beecher tornado. He said he hopes after production costs he can raise enough money to replace them.

“People need to realize the history of Flint and be proud of Flint. Remember this tragic event. That is still in the nations heart so it needs to be remembered in Michigan as well,” Woodbury said.

Woodbury said he hopes the film will do right by both the survivors of that terrifying day and the families of the 116 people who lost their lives.

I'm very proud of this, this documentary. I just hope that it does the victims and the survivors justice,” he said.

Of the 116 deaths, 113 occurred in a four-mile stretch of Coldwater Road, from Clio Road to Dort Highway. The oldest fatality was 80 and the youngest was just five months.

For more information on the documentary, click here.

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