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A shipwreck, freezing temperatures, and severe thunderstorms

Radar image 8:32 PM 1 Aug 02
Radar image 8:32 PM 1 Aug 02

A shipwreck, freezing temperatures, and severe thunderstorms top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center (SPC) archives here are the events that happened on August 1.

Almanac 1 August 2014
Grand Rapids Weather Examiner

1880 - The wood schooner Tom Boy, while carrying over 2,000 kegs of blasting powder, sprang a leak in heavy seas during a gale and foundered 2 miles offshore off Presque Isle, northwest of Marquette in Lake Superior while trying to make Marquette. The crew just had time to cut away her yawl before she went down, and they were picked up by the steamer Selah Chamberlain 3 hours later. Her skipper later said it had been his ninth shipwreck.

1886 - A tornado moves from northern Kalamazoo County into Barry County, damaging several farms in and near Hickory Corners.

1925 - The record for the greatest rainfall in Detroit for a 24-hour period was set with 4.75 inches of precipitation from July 31st-August 1st (an additional .01" fell early on Aug 1st).

1947 - What turns out to be the hottest August on record starts off on a decidedly cool note with record lows of 48° at Grand Rapids, 43° at Muskegon, Flint at 43°, Sault Ste. Marie with 36°, and Houghton Lake at freezing 32°.

1976 - After a very dry spring and summer, a lightning strike in late July started the Seney fire. This was the first day the fire was spotted by a plane for the Michigan DNR. It was 1/4 acre in size at that time. Rainfall for June through August 1976 was 38 percent of normal. Only 0.50 inch fell in Marquette for the month of August. The water table at the Seney National Wildlife Refuge was a foot below normal allowing old vegetation, peat and dried out muck to burn. The Seney Wildlife Refuge did a prescribed burn test fire of 1 acre that could not be put out and was a separate fire.

1993 - A severe storm in Kent County produced grapefruit-sized hail in Cannon Township, northeast of Grand Rapids.

2002 - A tornado struck north of Tustin in Osceola County. The tornado left a damage path six miles long, with dozens of large trees down and some roof damage to homes. One house had its attached garage destroyed. A weaker tornado also hit near Grant in Newaygo County, toppling a tree. Three areas of severe storms moved across the U.P. with widespread tree damage along with power outages and flooding rain. Republic saw over 5 inches of rain this day. A 6 inch diameter tree was snapped off 3 miles east southeast of Wetmore at 1437 EST with gusts as high as 69 mph and nine inch diameter trees were blown down 7.4 miles west southwest of Steuben at 1450 EST. There were also numerous trees blown down with 75 mph wind gusts at 1450 EST 18 miles northwest of Nahma. Numerous 18 inch diameter trees were blown down 8 miles southeast of Three Lakes at 1155 EST with gusts up to 81 mph. Widespread severe thunderstorms struck Upper Michigan as a strong surface low pressure center moved northeast into Ontario and its attendant warm and cold fronts interacted with a warm, moist and unstable airmass over the northwest Great Lakes. Thunderstorms first developed in Upper Michigan during the pre-dawn hours over the west, then continued off and on through the day before exiting Luce and Schoolcraft Counties late in the afternoon. Trees were knocked down in Tahquamenon Falls State Park in the early morning. There were numerous reports of wind damage, large hail, and torrential flooding rains. Wind gusts estimated as high as 80 mph near Houghton peeled a roof off a warehouse, overturned a truck, and downed numerous trees and power lines. One thunderstorm bombarded Escanaba with golf ball-sized hail (1.75 inch) at 0736 EST and dropped enough rain to inundate the intersection of US-2, M-35, and US-41 with a foot of water. Nearby Gladstone measured 2.06 inches of rain, and Wetmore in Alger County logged 2.40 inches in a short time. Numerous 6 inch diameter hardwood trees were blown down 3 miles east of Wakefield at 0500 EST. Trees were blown down across power lines at Watersmeet at 0520 EST and a two foot diameter pine tree was blown down across power lines 4 miles east of Watersmeet at 0527 EST. Later, numerous trees and power lines were down along US-45 at Watersmeet at 1145 EST with gusts up to 81 mph. Numerous trees were blown down 7 miles southeast of Watersmeet at 1254 EST. The attached slideshow has a few severe weather maps for the day. Click this link for a radar loop of the storms on this day.

2008 - Severe thunderstorms produced large hail and damaging wind over portions of central Upper Michigan in the afternoon. Six inch diameter trees were downed and penny sized hail fell at Cornell and large branches were knocked down. A two foot diameter rotted elm tree was knocked down in Wells. A six-inch diameter tree limb and several three-inch diameter branches were knocked down in Escanaba. Golf ball sized hail (1.75 inch) fell 2 miles south of Stonington. Six-inch diameter branches were knocked down and pea-sized hail fell along Highway US-2 west of Escanaba.

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