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Brutal cold, deadly floods, and a frozen Lake Superior

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Brutal cold, deadly floods, and a frozen Lake Superior 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 February 9.

1870 - During the administration of President Ulysses S. Grant, the Division of Telegrams and Reports for the Benefit of Commerce was created. This agency later became known as the Weather Bureau. In 1970 the Weather Bureau was once again renamed to the National Weather Service. Click here for more information

1875 - The temperature tumbles to 32 degrees below zero at Lansing and 20 below at Detroit during one of the coldest months on record in Lower Michigan. The mean temperature for the entire month at Lansing is 4.7 degrees, the coldest month ever recorded there.

1934 - The coldest temperature ever recorded in Michigan occurred at Vanderbilt, with a low of -51° below zero. Amasa, in the western Upper Peninsula, tied the record on Feb 4, 1996.

1977 - This day marked the last day of a streak of 45 days (December 26, 1976-February 9, 1977) of temperatures at or below 32° in southeastern Michigan!

1994 - Lake Superior was completely frozen over for the first time since 1979.

2001 - A winter storm began the previous day with rain near Lake Michigan and as a mix of snow, sleet and freezing drizzle over the western half of the Upper Peninsula. Between the snow to the west and the rain near Lake Michigan, a band of freezing rain over Menominee, Delta and Alger counties deposited up to a tenth of an inch of ice into the early morning hours of the 9th. Icy roads prompted area schools to close and contributed to numerous minor traffic mishaps. As winds turned to the north and colder air arrived, the freezing rain turned to snow and put 3 to 5 inches of snow on top of the icy roads by nightfall. Moderate to heavy snows began by afternoon on the 9th in the lake effect snowbelt. North winds gusting to as high as 40 mph caused considerable blowing and drifting snow and wind chills as low as 30 below zero. By the time the storm loosened its grip on the Upper Peninsula on the 10th, Laurium accumulated 24 inches of snow, 22 inches piled up in Phoenix, Ironwood received 20.6 inches, Ontonagon and Shingleton each reported 15 inches, the National Weather Service office in Marquette recorded 14.8 inches, and Munising received 11 inches. WFO Marquette had a daily record snowfall of 10.4 inches on this day. The storm produced widespread two day rainfall amounts from one to two and a half inches across all of Southeast Michigan. With substantial snowmelt thanks to one to two feet of snow on the ground, runoff production was quite large. Numerous rivers flooded over the following few days, and basement and road flooding were widespread. Unfortunately, there were three deaths as a result of the flooding in Monroe County.

2010 - A strong low pressure system passed through the Ohio River Valley and dropped the largest snowfall totals of the 2009-10 season across southeast Michigan during the afternoon and evening hours of the 9th and the early morning hours of the 10th. Most locations received between 5 and 10 inches with the highest amounts observed along the Ohio border, and between Flint and Saginaw, where up to a foot was reported. Some of the higher snowfall reports included Saginaw with 12.4”, Burt 10.5”, Samaria 10.0”, and Ann Arbor and Flint received 9.4”. West Michigan observes record daily snowfall from this storm with Grand Rapids seeing 8.1”, Muskegon 6.7”, and Lansing 5”.



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