A tornado outbreak, arctic high pressure and record heat 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 20.
1885 - Low temperatures of -28° were reported in mining districts of Marquette County.
1895 – Lansing only observes a record cool high of 6°. This is the coolest high temperature for the month of March in Lansing.
1965 - Arctic high pressure and a very deep late season upper level trough dug from the Pacific Northwest to the Ohio Valley bringing record cold. New record low temperatures are set in West Michigan with Grand Rapids at 3° and Muskegon with 8°. Records are set for the chilly highs as well with Grand Rapids reaching 19° and Muskegon 20°.
1976 - A tornado outbreak strikes from Michigan to Mississippi. In Michigan, an F4 tornado moved through West Bloomfield in Oakland County at 7:15PM. This tornado was responsible for 1 death, 55 injuries, and over $5 million in damage. This is both the strongest and costliest tornado to ever hit Oakland County.
Many snowstorms have hit Southeast Michigan on this day with greater than 6 inches over a large area of the region including in 1967, 1983, 1989, 1992, and 1996. In 1983, the Flint snowfall of 9.6 inches is the tenth heaviest snowstorm in its history.
2012 - Highs of 82°, 84°, and 83° were recorded in Detroit, Flint, and Saginaw and respectively. Each temperature tied the warmest March temperatures ever recorded at the time. However, all records would be broken in the coming days. Ultimately March 20, 2012 would be the third warmest March day ever recorded for Detroit and the second warmest for Flint and Saginaw. West Michigan cities experience similar records. Highs of 83°, 82°, and 83° were recorded in Grand Rapids, Muskegon and Lansing respectively. Each temperature is the warmest March temperatures ever recorded at the time. However, all records would be tied or broken in the coming days. Ultimately March 20, 2012 would be the third warmest March day ever recorded for Grand Rapids, the second warmest for Lansing and the warmest day at Muskegon, which is tied on the 21st.