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A major snow and ice storm, record cold and near-blizzard conditions

Almanac 2 March 2014 Click on image for a larger view
Almanac 2 March 2014 Click on image for a larger view
Grand Rapids Weather Examiner

A major snow and ice storm, record cold and near-blizzard conditions top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the events that happened on March 2.

1868 – In Lansing the temperature dips -25°, which is the record minimum temperature for the month of March.

1962 - The overnight temperature dropped to a freezing -12° in Saginaw, and -27° in Alpena. Both are record minimum temperatures for the month of March! Sault Ste. Marie also sees a daily record low of -17°.

1976 - A major snow and ice storm hit the Saginaw Valley and Thumb regions. The storm started on March 1 and continued through March 2. Snow fell first with anywhere from 2 to 10 inches. That was followed by about a half inch to one inch of glazing from the ice storm. The storm was accompanied with high winds. The storm struck a 29 county area in the central Lower Peninsula. This storm, one of the worst to ever hit the state, caused more than 56 million dollars in damage and widespread power outages for more than 400,000 electric customers. The storm impacts were so severe that a Presidential Major Disaster Declaration was granted for the 29 affected counties to assist in the recovery.

1978 – A cold Canadian high pressure settles into the Great Lakes and east coast. Records include Grand Rapids -8°, Detroit -4°, and Flint -12°. For Detroit and Flint these are record minimum temperatures for the month of March.

2002 - A strong low pressure center moves across the Ohio Valley bringing record snows to Lower Michigan. Grand Rapids has 13. 6 inches and Muskegon 10.5 inches, both set records for their snowiest March day on record.

2006 - Parts of Tuscola County had reports of 12 inches of snow on March 2.

2007 - A strong storm system originating over the southern Plains brought heavy snow and extensive blowing snow to much of Upper Michigan from the 1st continuing into the 3rd. Some rumbles of thunder even accompanied the system on the evening of the 1st, coincident with reports of freezing rain and sleet over Iron, Dickinson and Menominee counties. East wind gusts in excess of 50 mph produced blizzard or near-blizzard conditions at times mainly over the Keweenaw Peninsula and near the bay of Green Bay. Storm total snowfall exceeded 10 inches over all but south central portions of Upper Michigan. 14 inches of snow fell in Paradise. The National Weather Service office in Negaunee Township reported the most snow with 31 inches. Many school districts throughout Upper Michigan were closed on the 2nd as road plow crews worked steadily at clearing snow from roadways. Northern Michigan University, Michigan Tech University and Bay College in Delta County were also closed on the 2nd. Numerous streets and businesses in Houghton, including the Houghton County courthouse, were closed on the 2nd due to blizzard conditions. Snowfall totals included sixteen inches in Ontonagon and ten inches in Mass City and Bruce Crossing. Gusty east wind to near 50 mph at times along the Ontonagon shoreline caused near-blizzard conditions during the evening of the 1st. Schools were closed in the Ontonagon area on the 2nd. Storm total snowfall of 14 inches was observed at Channing. Dickinson County law enforcement agencies reported a few minor accidents throughout the area. Most area schools were closed on the 2nd. Storm total snowfall amounts included 23 inches at Bessemer, 19 inches at Ironwood, 17 inches at Marenisco and 13 inches at Watersmeet. East winds gusting over 30 mph at times created snow drifts 3 to 4 feet high in some areas and caused frequent whiteout conditions from the afternoon of the 1st into the morning of the 2nd. Schools were closed throughout the Gogebic Range on the 2nd.

2010 - Detroit had a high temperature of 39°. While this high temperature is usually not noteworthy, it marked the only high temperature for Detroit in the month of March 2010 that did not get 40 degrees or higher, which is a record for Detroit Marchs. March 2010 was one of the nicest on record with Detroit having the eighth warmest, eleventh driest, and least snowiest March.

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