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Flooding, a tornado, large hail and a shipwreck

Radar image 6:31 PM 15 May 2007
Radar image 6:31 PM 15 May 2007

Flooding, a tornado, large hail and a shipwreck 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 events that happened on May 15.

Almanac 15 May 2012 Click on image for a larger view
Grand Rapids Weather Examiner

1854 - Or somewhere around this date, the wood side-wheel steamer, passenger and package freighter Garden City went on Martin Reef west of Detour, MI in the Strait of Mackinac in Lake Huron during a gale and wrecked while bound Chicago for the Soo. Her passengers were picked up by the steamer Queen City.

1855 - A tornado destroys at least one building as it moves from Jackson to Washtenaw County.

1903 - The wood steam tug Edward Gillen was rammed and sunk by the steamer Maunaloa in a fog and sank quickly in the Duluth-Superior harbor near Lake Superior. The hulk was raised July 15, but was later declared a constructive total loss. One crew member lost their life.

1907 - High temperatures failed to get out of the 30s from May 12th-15th in Marquette. 1920 – Cold high pressure settles into the Great Lakes on this Saturday morning. Record low temperatures are set in both Grand Rapids and Muskegon. Grand Rapids observes a low of 34° and Muskegon 31°. Houghton Lake is even colder as they dip to a record 16°.

1921 - The wood schooner-barge, bulk freight, 2-mast Miztec, while carrying salt, was in tow of steamer Zillah, when she broke her towline and foundered off Vermillion point in Lake Superior in a gale. She had stranded with heavy damage in nearly the same spot in 1919. After rebuilding, she stranded again near the same location in 1920. It got her at last in ’21. All 7 crew members perished.

1942 - Flint was in the middle of a hot streak from the 14th-18th when high temperatures ranged from 91-93 degrees.

1972 - A tornado caused minor damage north of Potterville in Eaton County.

1997 - Ironwood had 3.8 inches of snow with 1.0 inch of daily record snow at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette.

1998 - Large branches were downed in a severe thunderstorm 3 miles east of Ironwood in the mid-evening and large industrial waste containers rolled by thunderstorm wind at Wakefield in the mid-evening.

2003 - When the Mother's Day storm runoff from the Huron Mountains overwhelmed a dike holding back Silver Lake in northwest Marquette County, a wave of water inundated the Dead River basin all the way to Lake Superior in Marquette. A number of roads and bridges were washed out by the flood waters. Officials in the city of Marquette issued a mandatory evacuation order for about 1800 people living north of Wright Street. The Presque Isle Power Plant at the Upper Harbor in Marquette was flooded and shut down for a number of days, resulting in shortages of electricity across western and central Upper Michigan. Flood waters on the Dead River did not subside until May 20th. Portions of Lakeshore Blvd and Hawley Street near the Dead River in Marquette were underwater in the early afternoon. Emergency crews in the area were forced to evacuate due to rapidly rising water. Debris from a railroad bridge was spotted being swept into the Lake Superior Harbor. Four feet of water was reported flooding the first floor of the Wisconsin Electric Power Plant at Presque Isle in Marquette. One permanent and three secondary residences were damaged 3 miles west of Marquette. The McClure Dam itself sustained minor damage. Several private docks were damaged by rapidly rising water. Two pontoon boats were torn from their moorings and were swept over the Forestville dam. The Forestville Road bridge and boat ramp were flooded. Flooding was reported along Wright and Granite Streets in Marquette. The road to the Presque Isle Power Plant was underwater. Four primary residences had flood damage along Granite Street. Floodwaters began overtopping the Tourist Park Dam at 11 AM EST. At 1230 PM, a section of the Tourist Park Dam failed and water flowing through the breach eroded a new channel on the left side of the dam.

2007 - There were over 60 severe wind and hail reports across Michigan including tennis ball size hail in Bad Axe, ping pong ball size hail in Portage, a measured 74 mph wind gust in Howell and 73mph at Lansing. Click here for a radar loop of the storms on this day. The slideshow on the top has more images of the severe storms.

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