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Blinding whiteout conditions, a closed Mackinac Bridge and record cold

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

Blinding white-out conditions, a closed Mackinac Bridge and record cold 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 January 30.

1951 - A huge arctic high pressure center moves south from Canada all the way to the Gulf of Mexico and brings snow to Florida. Temperatures fall to record lows in Lower Michigan. Grand Rapids sets a record of -22°, Flint -16° and Detroit a “balmy” -4°. Other daily records include Alpena with -26°, Houghton Lake with -32° and Baldwin plunges to -37°. For Houghton Lake this is the coldest January day ever recorded. For Grand Rapids this is the coldest January day which is later tied on January 19, 1994.

1996 - A high temperature of occurred at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette which was a record cold high temperature for the date.

2008 – Very strong northwest winds in the wake of an Arctic cold front caused blizzard conditions and bitter cold wind chills over portions of Upper Michigan. The combination of temperatures falling into the teens below zero along with winds gusting over 30 mph at times caused wind chill readings to plummet to 40 below zero. Schools were closed throughout Alger, Iron and Northern Schoolcraft counties due to the bitter cold. Localized blizzard to near-blizzard conditions in snow and blowing snow were reported for areas along Lake Superior and in northern Schoolcraft County. Widespread snow amounts of four to seven inches were reported. Northwest winds gusting over 50 mph at times early morning caused considerable blowing and drifting of snow on area roads. Wind chill readings also plummeted to 25 below to 35 below zero through the day. Many schools throughout Ontonagon County were closed. Further east, temperatures hovered near zero to the single digits above zero during the day, with occasional blinding whiteout conditions in falling and blowing snow in Chippewa and Mackinac Counties. Blizzard conditions occurred in the open country of Chippewa County. Wind gusts peaked from 40 to 50 mph. Travel was heavily impacted in the region. Parts of US-2 were closed west of St Ignace, and the Mackinac Bridge was closed to high profile vehicles. There were numerous accidents on area roads. School and event cancellations were widespread, and there were also sporadic power outages. In Marquette County, the combination of temperatures falling below zero along with winds gusting over 35 mph at times caused wind chill readings to plummet to 30 below zero. Schools were closed throughout the county due to the bitter cold, including Northern Michigan University. In West Michigan rain changes to snow as the arctic cold front brings a flash freeze to lower Michigan during the night of the 29th, leaving a sheet of ice on the roads. Temperatures fall from the upper 40s to the single numbers, with occasional blinding white-out conditions in falling and blowing snow. There were numerous traffic accidents and some roads were closed for a time. School and event cancellations were widespread, and there were also sporadic power outages.