Five foot snow drifts, extreme cold and a deadly roof collapse 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 19.
1907 - Southerly winds bring moist and mild weather with highs in the 50s followed by heavy rains as a cold front moves through. Grand Rapids sets a record high for the date of 56° along with a record rainfall total of 1.84 inches.
1979 - A homeowner was killed when his garage roof collapsed due to the weight of the snow on it. Several other homeowners suffered injuries as roofs collapsed throughout southwest Michigan. There were more than 50 reported roof collapses by the end of February, with most of the collapses occurring in the second half of January. At one point the snow pack was measured as weighing more than 25 pounds per square foot.
1994 - Temperatures remain below zero all day long. Extreme cold prevails from the 14th to the 21st but this is the coldest day. Grand Rapids ties the all-time record low for the month of January with -22°, followed by a high of only -2°. The daytime temperature rose to only -4° in Detroit after a record low of -20°. This is the coldest maximum temperature ever recorded in the city of Detroit! Other record lows include Amasa with a low of -53°, Bark River -27°, Spaulding -31°, Caspian -35°, Ironwood -31°, Flint -21°, Houghton Lake -22°, and Marquette -27°. Record cold highs include Ironwood -22°, Lansing -2°, Alpena 3°, Flint -3°, Houghton Lake 2°, Marquette -7° and Sault Ste. Marie -1°. Water and sewer pipes freeze, causing 50 million dollars in damage across Michigan.
1996 - Ironwood had 18.0 inches of snow from a snowstorm with five foot drifts. After the precipitation changed to snow during the evening of the 18th, the eastern area of the U.P. received 5 to 9 inches of snow with the heaviest snow at Pine Stump Junction, 15 miles north of Newberry.
2005 - Low pressure moved east across Lake Superior and far northern Lake Huron. Southwest winds ahead of the system brought snow to northern Michigan. The snow was drastically enhanced by Lake Michigan, with heavy snow near and downwind of the lake. Snowfall totals of six to ten inches were common along the Lake Michigan shoreline of eastern Upper Michigan. Strong southwest winds produced considerable blowing and drifting snow, and very low visibilities. Near blizzard conditions occurred near Lake Michigan, where winds gusted to around 40 mph. Strong southerly winds ahead of an approaching low pressure system in south central Canada brought occasionally heavy lake enhanced snow to southern Schoolcraft County on the night of the 18th. Twelve-hour reports of 6 to 8 inches of snow along with near-blizzard conditions in blowing snow caused schools to be closed or delayed in the Manistique School District on the 19th. On the evening of the 18th, the automated observing station in Manistique reported wind gusts exceeding 45 mph at times with visibility reduced to one-quarter mile.