Coolest July, deadly heat wave and hen egged sized hail top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center (SPC) archives here events that happened on July 17.
1870 - The wood schooner-barge Schuyler Colfax sank in a thunderstorm near Detour, MI. In Lake Huron from damage done by lightning.
1931 - The temperature reached a record high of 100° in Saginaw. Saginaw also had record highs of 98° on the 15th and 16th.
1934 - One of the worst heat waves in the nation's history began. During the last two weeks of July, extreme heat claimed 679 lives in Michigan with 300 of them in Detroit alone.
1981 - 2 inch hail (hen egg sized) fell 0.5 mile north northeast of Bark River, 1.5 inch hail (walnut sized) fell 1.2 miles west of Felch, and 2 inch hail (hen egg sized) fell 3.7 miles northwest of Schaffer in the early afternoon.
1994 - A small, short-lived tornado was observed lifting small debris at the Clare County airport north of Harrison.
1997 - 1.5 inch hail (walnut sized) fell at Sand River at the border of Marquette and Alger Counties in the early morning with a severe thunderstorm. The hail produced minor damage to several vehicles and caused $5000 worth of damage. 10 inch diameter trees downed with a severe thunderstorm 3 miles northeast of Skanee. Several trees and power lines were downed in Lake Linden causing $1000 in property damages. Several trees were downed up to 12 inches in diameter in Calumet. A 12 inch diameter tree was downed 3 miles northeast of Big Bay.
2006 - A severe thunderstorm with wind gusts up to 69 mph caused numerous trees up to ten inches in diameter to be uprooted along Old Seney Road 5 to 10 miles south of Grand Marais during the late morning. This caused $5000 worth of property damage. Trees were down near Lower Tahquamenon Falls 8 miles west southwest of Paradise. A twelve-inch diameter tree snapped near base along County Road 416 10 miles northwest of Pine Stump Junction causing $1,000 in damage. A widespread severe weather outbreak struck West Michigan. Dozens of trees were downed by winds gusting between 60 and 70 mph. A camper was injured by a falling tree at a campground in Dorr, Allegan County. Two inch diameter hail fell at Marne in Ottawa County. The squall line moved across Southeast Michigan hitting the Tri Cities and Thumb regions the hardest. Severe weather was reported in all seventeen counties of Southeast Lower Michigan. Most of the damage was from severe winds, but there were a few reports of hail up to golf ball size in Saginaw. Winds were estimated up to 100 mph in eastern Huron County as hundreds of trees were snapped or uprooted. One person died, and one person was injured from lightning in Detroit. Click here for a radar loop of the storms on this day. The attached slideshow has a few severe weather maps for the day.
2008 - A severe thunderstorm brought down numerous large trees 8 miles south southwest of Island View in Delta County in the late afternoon. Some trees were as large as 24 inches in diameter and the downed trees caused some slight structural damage with $10,000 in property damage. Wind gusts up to 90 mph in an EF1-rated microburst snapped off or uprooted numerous large trees in the OB Fuller County Park and Campground in Delta County 6 miles south southwest of Island View. The fallen trees also caused damage to a motorcycle and camping trailer causing $20,000 in property damage. Eight-inch diameter tree limbs were knocked down 3 miles west southwest of Daggett at 1545 CST. These severe thunderstorms caused damage over portions of Menominee and Delta counties. Lightning struck a power pole and ignited a fire at a home in Negaunee in the evening. The lightning bolt traveled from the power pole to a metal dryer vent on the side of the house, starting the fire. Negaunee firefighters responded to the blaze and all people inside the house escaped without injury. $20,000 in damage occurred.
2009 - The high of 67° at Grand Rapids is a record cool high temperature for the date, and contributes to July, 2009 becoming the coolest July on record. The highest temperature for the entire month is only 84°, the lowest monthly maximum temperature for any July on record. Other daily records for the chilly air include Lansing with 70°, Flint with 70°, and Houghton Lake with 62°.
2011 - A cold front moving through a warm unstable airmass produced numerous thunderstorms over central Upper Michigan in the evening. A few storms turned severe over Menominee County. Trees were reported down on power lines along Anderson Road in Daggett between 2100 and 2130 CDT.
2012 - The afternoon high temperature soared to 102°, reaching 100+ degrees in Detroit for the third time that month. Highs also reached 101° in Flint and 100° in Saginaw. All either tied or broke the existing record for the date. Other records set for the date include Grand Rapids 99° and Muskegon 95°.