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An ice sheet, a tornado, a seiche, and large hail

Almanac 30 May 2014 Click on image for a larger view
Almanac 30 May 2014 Click on image for a larger view
Grand Rapids Weather Examiner

An ice sheet, a tornado, a seiche, and large hail 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 May 30.

1868 - The wood schooner Oneida Chief, while carrying pig iron, was driven into the shallows in a storm surrounding Au Sable Point in Lake Superior and broke up. She had been bound Marquette for Lake Erie.

1888 - The wood schooner, 3-mast former bark Maggie McRae, while carrying wheat, was in tow of tug Bruno after dark, when she stove in her bow planking in a collision with an ice sheet and sank 10 miles off Thunder Cape Light in Lake Superior. She was bound for Kingston.

1972 - A tornado damaged a building under construction five miles west of Jackson.

1987 – Unseasonably warm weather prevailed across the eastern U.S., eighteen cities, from Virginia to Ohio and Michigan reported record high temperatures for the date. (The National Weather Summary) In Michigan, Grand Rapids set a record for the warmest overnight low with 68°. Flint also sets a record with 68° and Houghton Lake 69°.

1989 - A tornado struck Van Buren County, moving from east of South Haven to south of Pearl. Several grain elevators were destroyed and windows were blown out of buildings.

2002 - A short wave trough moving rapidly southeastward across Michigan's Upper Peninsula combined with a mid-level jet to produce severe thunderstorms with large hail, damaging winds and a weak tornado. Large tree branches were broken off 8 miles northeast of Ralph in a severe thunderstorm in the midafternoon. Three to four inch diameter tree branches were broken off 2 miles southeast of Gwinn. Several large trees were knocked down and large branches were broken off 4 miles northwest of McFarland. An F0 tornado touched down one mile southwest of Rapid River, MI in the late afternoon, it was on the ground for 5 minutes and travelled 1 mile and was 20 yards wide. It caused no damage. One foot diameter trees were uprooted at Channing in the early evening. A one foot diameter pine tree was snapped in half 2 miles east of Michigamme. In the early evening, 1.5 inch hail (ping pong ball sized) was reported at Channing and 1.75 inch hail (golfball sized) at Sagola and 2 inch hail (hen egg sized) at Randville in the early evening. Golf ball sized hail (1.75 inch) fell at Hardwood, 7 miles east of Crystal Falls and 8 miles east of Crystal Falls in the early evening. In the mid-evening, severe thunderstorms caused two inch diameter tree branches to be broken off with gusts to 63 mph 2 miles northwest of Covington. One and a quarter inch hail (half dollar sized) was reported 1 mile southwest of Escanaba in the mid-evening in a severe thunderstorm. Three inch diameter tree branches were broken off 5 miles south of Lake Linden in the late afternoon.

2006 - Thunderstorms dumped heavy rainfall and caused minor flooding over portions of the Pictured Rocks area in the morning. Radar rainfall estimates in excess of three inches were observed between Beaver Lake and Nawakwa Lake and the resulting heavy rainfall washed out portions of Kingston Lake Road (Highway H-58) between Twelvemile Beach and Hurricane River Road.

2011 - A low pressure system approaching from the Northern Plains triggered thunderstorms with heavy rain over portions of western Upper Michigan in the afternoon. A severe thunderstorm produced wind gusts in excess of 60 mph at Freda in Houghton County. The Gogebic County Sheriff reported a road washed out just west of Little Girls Point due to storms that passed over the area in the afternoon. The road was closed from Little Girls Point west to the Wisconsin state line. Heavy rain over a 15-minute period caused two to three inches of water over roadways and flooding in ditches 1 mile northwest of Wakefield. As a dying thunderstorm complex moved over Lake Superior on the afternoon of the 30th, a seiche developed due to the wake low formed by the complex. No damage or injuries were reported from this event but water levels fluctuated by two to four feet in a matter of minutes.

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