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Freezing rain, mild weather and a barge crew tramping through the wilderness

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Freezing rain, mild weather and a barge crew tramping through the wilderness 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 18.

1884 - Temperatures plunge well below zero during a three day cold wave. Lansing records an all-time December low of -25°, tying the record first set on Dec. 8, 1864.

1899 - Barge 115, an unrigged barge, steel whaleback, bulk freighter, while carrying iron ore, broke from her tow steamer, the whaleback Colgate Hoyt, well out in Lake Superior during a gale, and went ashore 5 days later and broke up on Pic Island near Marathon, Ontario. Other ships of her fleet searched the lake for her for days. Her crew was thought to be lost, but showed up days later after a long tramp through the wilderness. The barge was declared a total loss the following May.

1926 - Houghton Lake observes their coldest December day with a low temperature of -28°. Flint sees a daily record -7°, Alpena -17°, and Grand Rapids -5°.

1939 - Mild weather continues for the second consecutive day with highs in the 50s and overnight lows remaining above freezing. Records for the date include Grand Rapids low 39°, high 55°; Muskegon low 48°, high 53°; Flint low 40°, high 54° and Detroit observes a record high of 54°.

1951 - Flint had a low of -3°. This day was part of a 4 day streak of cold weather. The 16th and 17th had record lows of -6° and -7°, and the 19th had a record low of -11°.

1998 - Locally heavy lake effect snow showers produced up to 10 inches of snow across northern portions of Chippewa County.

2001 - Snow depth dwindled from 20 inches on the 1st to 1 inch at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette on the 18th-19th and 23rd.

2002 - Freezing rain fell across much of Upper Michigan. Many locations reported between a quarter to one third of an inch of ice accumulation. Southerly flow from a strong area of low pressure over Minnesota brought abundant moisture and warm air aloft into Upper Michigan. At the surface, early morning temperatures were still below freezing when rain began falling over the southern Upper Peninsula and then spread northward. As the rain fell, it froze on road surfaces as well as cars, trees and other objects. A quarter of an inch of ice accumulation was reported in Powers, Paulding, Cornell, Rock, Arnold, Wetmore, McMillan, Steuben and Nestoria. Watersmeet reported half an inch of ice and Iron Mountain reported a third of an inch of ice. Many schools were closed and numerous minor auto accidents were reported. The freezing rain ended about noon as temperatures warmed above freezing and the accumulated ice began melting.



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