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Heavy rain, large hail, record heat, and a drowning

Almanac 21 July 2014
Almanac 21 July 2014
Grand Rapids Weather Examiner

Heavy rain, large hail, record heat, and a drowning top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here events that happened on July 21.

1909 - 6.72 inches of rain fell in Ironwood with basements and cellars flooded. 2.41 inches of rain fell in Iron Mountain, 2.4 inches fell in Watersmeet and 2.75 inches of rain fell in Stambaugh.

1934 - A brutal heat wave peaks during the Dust Bowl summer with a high of 104° at Grand Rapids, second only to the 106° and 108° readings from July 1936. Temperatures reach the mid and upper 90s even right along the Lake Michigan shore as Muskegon sees a record high of 95°. Lansing sees a daily record of 97° and Flint 102°.

1971 - A severe thunderstorm had 60 mph gusts in Ironwood in the mid evening. Golf ball sized hail (1.75 inch) fell 1.3 miles north northeast of Trout Creek in the early evening.

1983 - A severe thunderstorm produced wind gusts up to 58 mph in Ironwood in the early morning. One person drowned on the Kalamazoo River as a tornado struck Saugatuck then crossed the river, generating a large wave of water.

1992 - A record low temperature of 37° was set at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette. A low temperature of 24° occurred at Rapid River.

1994 – Lightning struck 37-year-old woman in her house in Forsyth Township at 1545 EST as she placed a portable radio in a window sill. The lightning entered on her right middle finger and exited her left middle finger. She was hospitalized in stable condition.

1998 - During the late afternoon and early evening, a broken line of severe thunderstorms moved through metro Detroit as well as Lenawee and Monroe Counties. This squall line produced a wind gust to 75 mph at the Ann Arbor Airport, widespread wind damage across the metro area especially in Dearborn, hundreds of thousands of power outages, and unfortunately 2 deaths in Woodhaven as severe winds brought down a video store awning. There were also two other injuries at the video store and one injury at Michigan International Speedway (MIS).

2001 - High pressure over the east coast and low pressure over the central plains produced a strong southwest flow over the Upper Great Lakes region. The strong southwest flow advected ample Gulf of Mexico moisture into Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The high humidity fueled the development of numerous showers and thunderstorms. Two of the thunderstorms became severe over Schoolcraft and Delta counties. A severe thunderstorm caused numerous trees to be uprooted with 6-inch diameter branches down 18 miles east of Rapid River. Large tree down across the road 5 miles south of Steuben and two trees down, one over the main highway 5 miles southeast of Steuben in the late afternoon.

2002 - A cold front moving across Michigan's Upper Peninsula interacted with a moist and unstable airmass to set off thunderstorms during the late afternoon and evening. Some of the storms produced large hail, high winds and heavy rain. A bow echo moved across Upper Michigan producing some wind damage. The high winds downed thousands of trees across Marquette County. The trees ranged in size from three inches to three feet in diameter, and damaged several homes in western Marquette County. The automated weather station at Sawyer International Airport reported a wind gust to 55 kt or 63 mph as the bow echo plowed across central and eastern Upper Michigan. Two inch hail (hen egg sized) was reported in Republic at 1645 EST. One to two foot diameter trees were blown down 9 miles southwest of Ishpeming at 1700 EST. Sixty foot tall trees blown down and power lines were knocked down 10 miles south of Marquette and numerous 1 to 2 foot diameter trees blown down or broken off 5 miles east of Sawyer AFB at 1720 EST. Numerous 1 to 2 foot diameter trees blown down or broken off 7 miles south of Marquette at 1740 EST. Gusts up to 69 mph were seen across Alger County in the evening as the bow echo went across with 4 inch diameter tree branches broken off trees 5 miles north of Shingleton, MI. Numerous trees were down in Curtis at 1855 EST and 2 miles south of St. Ignace at 1945 EST. A line of thunderstorms moved across eastern Upper Michigan during the evening hours. The wind gusts associated these storms downed trees across a few locales. Golf ball sized hail (1.75 inch) was reported 3 miles south of Three Lakes, MI. Two foot diameter tree blown down 7 miles east of Iron Mountain. A ten inch diameter tree branch was broken off 10 miles southwest of Watersmeet. Fourteen trees were blown down along the roadway 3 miles southeast of Kenton. Six trees were blown down along highway U.S. 45 13 miles south of Bruce Crossing. Numerous trees were blown down in Alpha. Several large trees and power lines were blown down in Ingalls and 2 miles west of Stephenson at 1709 CST. Tourist Park in Marquette flooded with 3 to 5 inches of water over the roads in the early evening. A waterspout was sighted over Lake Superior offshore from Au Train at 1800 EST. A wind gust to 69 mph was reported at Beaver Island and at Pt Aux Chenes in Lake Michigan at 1945 EST. Thunderstorms that produced severe weather across parts of northeast and east central Wisconsin produced strong wind gusts as they moved over the Bay of Green Bay and the nearshore and open waters of Lake Michigan with wind gusts to 81 mph at Ellison Bay, WI at 2100 EST.

2010 - A 62-year-old Wisconsin man drowned near Picnic Rocks in the afternoon. A wave pushed him away from the sandbar at Picnic Rocks, and he was pulled under the water by the strong longshore current which had developed from gusty north winds of 10 to 20 mph.

2011 - The peak of the heat wave was reached when high temperatures reached 100° at Detroit, Monroe, Adrian, Grosse Isle, and Ypsilanti. The 100° at Detroit was a record for the date and was the first 100 recorded in Detroit since 1995. This hot day was in the middle of a stretch of heat that saw highs reached 90 or greater at Saginaw for 5 days in a row, 6 days in a row in Flint and 7 days in a row at Detroit. The heat wave was the longest and strongest heat wave to hit Southeast Michigan since July 1987. It also help to make July 2011 the warmest month on record for Detroit, the 3rd warmest month for Flint and the fourth warmest month in Saginaw.