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Christmas trees, record heat and heavy snow

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Christmas trees, record heat and heavy snow 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 December 4.

1886 - A record cold snap continues across Lower Michigan. Lansing falls to -13°, as the temperature hits zero or below on first five days of the month there.

1893 - The wood scow-schooner, 2-mast South Side, while carrying Christmas Trees and ties, was seen to be adrift and helpless off Milwaukee in the first few days of December. Reported ashore on Plum Island in Lake Michigan during a gale on the 4th and later a total wreck. Five aboard and feared lost.

1906 - The wood, passenger and package freighter Golspie, while carrying oats and barley, was driven broadside on a rocky beach at Brule Bay at Michipicoten Island, Ontario in Lake Superior, where she broke up and became a total loss by the 7th. Her crew suffered greatly from the cold while walking to shelter. 5 crewmen lost hands or feet to frostbite.

1941 - Three days before the attack on Pearl Harbor, Lower Michigan is basking in record warm early December weather. Record highs include the 60° at Muskegon, 63° at Grand Rapids, 64° at Lansing, Detroit and Flint.

1989 - The U.S. Coast Guard Buoy Tender Mesquite struck a rocky bar due to a navigational error and sank off Keweenaw Point in Lake Superior. USCG thought she would weather over the winter [though few vessels stranded in that area ever had] but she was damaged beyond repair by winter storms and ice. Partially stripped in the spring and sunk [actually lowered by a huge floating crane] to become part of an underwater preserve in 1990.

1998 - The overnight temperature did not drop below a balmy 54° in Grand Rapids, 49° in Lansing and 51° in Detroit. These are record warm minimum temperatures for the date.

2009 - A narrow band of heavy snow across central Ottawa and Kent Counties drops over a foot of snow from Allendale to Comstock Park. Up to 15” falls in northern sections of Grand Rapids. The airport in Grand Rapids recorded a daily record of 5.9” for the date. Read more about this storm here: December 4th, West Michigan snowfall reports

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