53 Twister Remembered

Damage following F4 Tornado in downtown Sarnia. BlackburnNews.com file photo

It was on this day, May 21, 1953, that a powerful F4 tornado slammed into Sarnia at 5:45 pm.

Before crossing the St.Clair River, the storm devastated the southern edge of Port Huron, killing two people and injuring 20 more.

The storm also dumped heavy rain and golfball-size hail on Sarnia, clearing the streets of motorists and pedestrians and reducing the potential number of casualties.

The storm raced ashore just south of Sarnia Harbour, and passed directly through the downtown area, damaging nearly 100 commercial buildings.

The auditorium of the Imperial Theatre collapsed, a four-storey hotel on the waterfront lost its upper floors and at least 150 homes were either damaged or destroyed.

Four people were killed in the tornado, 40 were injured and 500 were left homeless. Damage was estimated at $4-million.