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Deadly spring blizzard, tornadoes, and snow

radar image 11:01 PM 30 Apr 03
radar image 11:01 PM 30 Apr 03

Deadly spring blizzard, tornadoes, and snow top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center (SPC) archives here are the weather events that happened on April 30.

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

1907 - 200 vessels were trapped in ice in Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior. April 1907 came in with an average temperature of 29.8 degrees, almost 8 degrees below normal in Marquette.

1909 - The wood schooner-barge, 2-mast George Nester broke her towline to the steamer Schoolcraft in a spring blizzard/gale and drove ashore in the Huron Islands east of the Keweenaw Peninsula off the lighthouse in Lake Superior, where she broke up. Her crew of 7 all perished while the U.S. lighthouse tender Marigold was still attempting to rescue them.
The iron, package freight Russia, while carrying cement, dry goods and thousands of rubber overshoes, had her hull fractured in a terrific storm and she sank near Detour in Lake Huron.

1960 - 6 inches of heavy, wet snow fell in Ishpeming, 6.9 inches fell at Chatham Experimental Farm, with 4-8 inches of snow falling over central upper Michigan.

1962 - Several tornadoes struck southern Lower Michigan. A fire station was damaged in Lansing and a building was destroyed in Grand Ledge. Two simultaneous F1 tornadoes hit Washtenaw County. In Ypsilanti, one tornado destroyed a barn and damaged two houses.

1996 - A daily record snowfall of 12.6 inches along with a record low high temperature of 33° occurred at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette with a storm total of 14.3 inches from the 29th-30th. A major late winter storm resulted from a low pressure system moving north from Illinois on the afternoon of the 29th across Lake Michigan and crossed Upper Michigan near Sault Ste. Marie on the afternoon of the 30th. The snow became very heavy this day when the snow diminished to flurries between 8 pm and midnight. Areas west of Munising and Escanaba received mostly snow while areas to the east received mostly rain from this storm. The highest snow total was 16 inches at Watton. The snow total was newsworthy in Marquette as the 15 inches there broke its single season snowfall record of 243.8 inches set in 1981-82 at that time. The new record was 251.4 inches. It also set a new April snow record of 43.4 inches. These have all since been broken. The 10 inches at Iron River also broke its single season snowfall record of 113.7 inches set in 1959-60. The new record is now at 114.5 inches. Other snow totals included 15 inches at L'anse, Bruce Crossing and Kenton, 13 inches at Calumet, Alberta, Ahmeek and Skandia, 11 inches at Ironwood, Watersmeet and Pelkie, 10 inches at Amasa and 9 inches at Trenary, Au Train and Crystal Falls.

2003 – A line of severe thunderstorms straddle a front draped across the Midwest. There are 22 reports of tornadoes. In Michigan there are two reports of large hail, one northeast of Sherwood and one west of Tekonsha. The slideshow on the top has more weather images for this day. Click here for a radar loop of the storms

2004 - On a dry weather note, the date concluded one of the driest Aprils on record for Detroit. Just 0.69" of precipitation fell for the fourth driest. The 0.70" at Flint made April 2004 the second driest on record. One has to look back nearly a century to find a drier April (0.66"-1915) in Detroit. In West Michigan this is the third direst month in Lansing with 0.68” of precipitation.

2010 - An EF0 tornado briefly touched down one mile northwest of Iron River at 1650 CST. The tornado touched down just west of Homer Road between Forbes Road and West Mineral Avenue approximately 1.5 miles northwest of Iron River. The tornado uprooted trees and caused some damage to a few out buildings before lifting back off the ground. The average path was 100 yards wide and was on the ground for 0.40 of a mile. It damaged a carport. $15,000 worth of property damage was done. This was only the 4th recorded tornado in the month of April in the U.P. since 1950. Storms uprooted numerous birch trees and caused some roof damage to houses in the Homer area near Iron River at 1656 CST causing $30,000 in property damage. Numerous trees were snapped off near Bond Falls 2 miles west northwest of Calderwood at 1715 EST. The slideshow on the top has more weather images for this day. Click here for a radar loop of the storms

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