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      July 19, 1992: The Gladstone Tornado

      Active thunderstorms brought widespread damage across the U.P. the last couple of days. This is a scene from L'Anse.

      Severe thunderstorms quickly rolled through Delta County at mid-day. There were numerous reports of power lines and trees down throughout the county. This event occurred on the 21 anniversary of the Gladstone tornado.

      On the evening of Sunday, July 19, 1992, a twister plowed through the bluff area of Gladstone, the geological formation that was supposed to protect the town from storms like this. Widespread destruction occurred along its half-mile-wide path. Several businesses sustained major damage, including one housing several large tanks. The tornado picked up an empty 20,000 gallon tank and threw it 200 yards, slamming it into another tank. A valve broke on the second tank, spilling 250,000 gallons of tar.

      Half the residents in the town of 4,800 were without power after the storm. Telephone service was knocked out. A number of houses were damaged; one had its kitchen windows shattered with glass later found imbedded in the walls. The occupants of the structure had made it into the basement just as the storm struck. A number of garages were damaged or destroyed. One garage was lifted off its foundation and dropped onto a car parked in front of it. The boat inside the garage was untouched.

      Only minor injuries were reported. One girl was hit by a board that flew through a window of the house she was in. A boy fell while running to the basement of his home.

      The F-1 tornado became a large waterspout as it passed across Little Bay De Noc. Boats were flipped over and 10 miles to the east, debris from the building supply store in Gladstone, such as plywood and Styrofoam, were found.

      The Gladstone tornado of 1992 was a stormy summer anomaly in an otherwise unusually cool season. Two mornings later on July 21, frost was reported at Sand River east of Marquette and also north of Iron Mountain. At the same time, a thermometer just outside of Rapid River, several miles up the road from Gladstone, registered 24 degrees. The Gladstone Tornado of July 1992 was a unique event, punctuating an extraordinary summer season.