Heavy rain, damaging wind and ping ball 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 are the events that happened on July 29.
1852 - A severe thunderstorm struck Mackinac Island with hail the size of walnuts fell (1.5 inch). Almost every window was broken on one side of the Mission house Hotel.
1901 - The barge, steel whaleback, bulk freight Sagamore, while carrying iron ore, was riding at anchor waiting out fog when she was rammed by the 300-ft steel steamer Northern Queen. Sagamore was riding very low in the water and was practically invisible because of the normal low profile of whalebacks. She split amidships and sank very quickly off Iroquois Pt., Whitefish Bay in Lake Superior. She had been the tow of the whaleback steamer Pathfinder. 2 members of the crew perished.
1909 - A severe thunderstorm hit Ironwood in the early morning hours. Buildings were unroofed, windows smashed and trees uprooted throughout Ironwood and the surrounding area. This storm might have produced a tornado and it produced thousands of dollars in damage, but no deaths or serious injuries occurred. Heaviest losses were incurred by the Newport Mining Company in Ironwood. Three buildings were unroofed. The power plant had its 14 inch brick walls blown in from the storm. The plant sustained severe damage to the machinery as the west wall caved in. 60 feet of the south wall imploded bringing down the steel-trussed roof. The mine was forced to suspend underground mining operations for several days afterward. 200 feet of the dry house blew away and roof timbers 12 feet long were hurled several hundred feet from the site. One man at the mining company in the engine house said he jumped out of the window as the funnel descended on the building and when he came to earth again, he was sprawled out among the wreckage some 250 feet from the engine house. Another man ran out the front door and claimed he was picked up and carried to the company barn about 100 yards away.
1916 - Temperatures soared to record highs as a ten day heat wave reached its peak. The 102° at Lansing would tie the record for the second hottest day ever there. Grand Rapids hit 103° as part of a record string of four consecutive days of 100° or higher. Even the Lake Michigan shore was baking, with Muskegon hitting 95°. Lansing also set a record with 102° and Sault Ste. Marie with 96°.
1980 - 1 inch hail (quarter sized) fell out of a severe thunderstorm 2.7 miles northwest of Powers in the mid afternoon and 1.5 inch hail (ping pong ball sized) fell 0.7 miles west northwest of Cedar River.
1988 - A record high of 94° was set at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette with a record high low temperature of 66°.
1999 - A severe thunderstorm produced a wind gust up to 86 mph in Bark River in the early morning. 6 inch trees were down along Highway US-41 at Rapid River. A 1 foot diameter tree was down across Kimberly Road in Norway.
2000 - Thunderstorms brought flash flooding to Detroit. Rain amounts were 2.92 inches of rain.
2001 – Thunderstorms that fired during the afternoon produced widespread damage as strong wind blew down trees and power lines. The attached slideshow has a few severe weather maps for the day.
2006 - Thunderstorms produced heavy rainfall of 4 to 6 inches over much of western Gogebic County during the early morning hours. Minor street flooding was reported in the Bessemer, Wakefield and Marenisco areas as well as flooding on Bingham Creek near Lake Gogebic. An approaching cold front interacting with an extremely unstable airmass triggered a widespread outbreak of severe weather across west and central Upper Michigan from late afternoon on the 28th to just after sunrise on this day. Click here for a radar loop of the storms on this day. The attached slideshow has a few severe weather maps for the day.
2011 - Several rounds of heavy rain and thunderstorms from July 27 to July 29 brought flash flooding around Lansing. From 6 to 10 inches of rain was estimated to have fallen in the three days from west Lansing to Dimondale. Several roads were flooded and washed out. The Grapevine Wildfire started on the afternoon of the 29th and burned into the 31st. The wildfire burned between 80 and 100 acres near the Silver Lake Basin north of Ishpeming. Numerous local fire departments responded and helped suppress the fire around its edges. Heavy equipment was also used to build up barriers around the fire. No structures were lost in the fire.