A shipwreck, flooding along the Grand and Kalamazoo Rivers, heavy snow and an F1 tornado top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the weather events that happened on April 8.
1871 - The wood schooner, 2-mast Thomas Kingsford, while carrying corn, was cut by an ice floe and sank on Waugoschance Reef in the Straits of Mackinac in Lake Michigan, only 25 feet from the lighthouse pier. She resisted efforts by the big wrecker Leviathan to pull her off and later was washed off by a storm, at which point she went to pieces. Much of her gear was later salvaged by Chicago wrecker Capt. Michael Beffel or Beffels in the sloop D. M. Norton.
1938 - A snowstorm drops several inches of snow across southern Lower Michigan. Lansing sets a record for the day with 5.1 inches and Grand Rapids with 4.3 inches.
1947 - Three to five inches of rain and warmer temperatures combine with melting snowpack and partially frozen ground to cause some disastrous flooding along the Grand and Kalamazoo Rivers. Millions of dollars of damage occur as large sections of Grand Rapids, including the Comstock Park area, are under several feet of water.
U.S. Geological Survey has a very nice summary of this flood here: http://mi.water.usgs.gov/fdfloods.php
This is a portion of their “Water Supply Paper” on Michigan Floods and Droughts: “The flood of April 4-11, 1947, was the most damaging at many locations since the flood of 1904. The meteorological conditions that led to flooding began with a snowfall in March 1947. On April 1, an eastward-moving frontal system caused thunderstorms in the extreme southern Lower Peninsula. On April 2, rainfall was increased by the slow movement of the frontal system and by an abundance of warm, moist air from the Gulf of Mexico. A second frontal system that had originated in the Southwestern United States reached Michigan on April 4. Thunderstorms were moderate to intense during April 4-6. Jackson received almost 5 inches of rain, and a wide area between Benton Harbor and Detroit received more than 3 inches. In the Flint area, average precipitation was 2.3 inches. As with the flood of 1904, melting snow in some areas combined with rainfall runoff to increase streamflow. Frozen soil may have limited moisture infiltration in some areas.
The areas affected by the April 1947 flood included the Kalamazoo River, Grand River, Saginaw River, St. Clair River, Clinton River, and River Rouge. Many streams within an area bounded by Kalamazoo, Flint, Mt. Clemens, and Detroit had peak discharges with recurrence intervals of greater than 25 years. In the Kalamazoo River basin, Battle Creek at Battle Creek (fig. 3, site 2) had a peak discharge of 3,640 ft3/s (cubic feet per second), which corresponded to a recurrence interval of about 50 years. In the Flint River basin, the recurrence interval of peak discharge for Farmers Creek near Lapeer (fig. 3, site 4) was about 50 years. Streams in several smaller areas had discharges with recurrence intervals equal to or greater than 100 years.
In Flint, many industries, including automotive industries located near the river, were affected by the April 1947 flood. Damage in this area totaled about $4 million (Wiitala and others, 1963). The peak discharge of the Flint River recorded at Flint had a recurrence interval of about 100 years. At Northville, flooding on the Middle Branch River Rouge was the most damaging on record (U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, 1971, p. 24). The floodwaters filled basements and inundated the first floors of some residences. In the Clinton River basin, the peak discharge associated with the April 1947 (fig. 3, site 6) flood was the largest in 53 years of record; however, a flood in 1902 in southeastern Michigan before streamflow records began may have exceeded the 1947 flood in magnitude.”
1980 - Wayne County was hit by an F1 tornado at 7:15PM.
2001 - A high of 79° in Detroit on this date in 2001 broke a 130 year old high temperature record (76° in 1871).
2010 - A low pressure system moving from the Plains into Lower Michigan produced moderate to heavy snow over portions of central Upper Michigan from late evening on the 7th through the 8th. Weather Forecast Office in Marquette had a daily record snowfall of 9.8 inches. The heavy snow also contributed to hazardous driving conditions and poor visibility at times in Alger and Marquette counties. The observer in Munising measured 6.5 inches of wet snow in less than 24 hours. A small portion of Chippewa County, near and north of a line from Pickford to Paradise, saw 5 to 7 inches of snow. Sault Ste. Marie picked up 7.2 inches. Observers throughout much of Delta County measured a widespread four to seven inches of wet heavy snow in less than 24 hours. The observer near Norway measured four inches of wet snow in 12 hours.