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Lake Superior icebergs, large hail, tornadoes, snow and fire

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Lake Superior icebergs, large hail, tornadoes, snow and fire top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the weather events that happened on May 8.

1880 - A tornado destroyed two homes and a barn two miles east of Kalamazoo. No one was injured.

1885 - The tugboat City Of Marquette tried to go out to Stannard Rock in a snowstorm and reported icebergs 10 miles from Huron Island in an immense ice field. 5 inches of snow fell in the Copper Country.

1916 - The composite, bulk freight S.R. Kirby, while carrying iron ore, tried to avoid Sawtooth Reef, near Eagle Harbor, MI in Lake Superior in huge waves and a blizzard, when she broke her back and drifted onto the reef anyway, where she sank. Two crewmen were saved by the steamers Berwind and Block, but most of the crew was drowned when the steamer broke up. 19 of 22 crew members perished. She had been downbound with the barge George E. Hartnell in tow. There were accusations at the time that both steamer and barge were overloaded. Largest composite vessel ever built on the lakes; she was also the first lakes freighter to be equipped with electric lights.

1947 – Cold air settles in to Lower Michigan with many cities setting records for the coldest high temperatures for the date. Records include Grand Rapids 41°, Muskegon 39°, Lansing 39°, Alpena 35°, Detroit 38°, Flint 37°, and Houghton Lake 33°. For Detroit, Houghton Lake and Flint these are the coldest maximum temperatures ever recorded for the month of May.

1954 - 5 inches of snow fell at Bergland Dam.

1960 - Houghton County Airport had 3.6 inches of snow from May 7th to the 8th.

1963 - 2 inch diameter hail (lime sized or hen egg sized) fell in Kingsford in the early morning out of a severe thunderstorm.

1964, an F4 tornado moved through Macomb County at 4:59PM. This tornado moved from north of Mt. Clemens, across southern St. Clair county and then into Ontario, Canada. This was the strongest tornado to ever hit Macomb County and was responsible for 11 deaths and 224 injuries.

1976 - A freeze hits Lower Michigan with Grand Rapids and Muskegon setting record lows of 27°. Detroit also sets a record with 30°.

1987 - Fires broke out, the largest from arson. The biggest fire was north of Manistique with 6 small fires in a short distance combining to form the Eight Mile Road fire. This fire scorched more than 5,000 acres before being brought under control May 11th. 200 firefighters fought this blaze which cost $250,000 to control.

2010 – Weather Forecast Office in Marquette had a daily record snowfall of 5.2 inches. Twelve-hour snowfall amounts from observers in Baraga County included 4.6 inches near Sidnaw and 7.6 inches in Herman. The observer in Ironwood measured 4.5 inches of wet snow accumulation in 15 hours. A low pressure system originating in the Plains lifted into the Lower Great Lakes bringing moderate snow to portions of west and north central Upper Michigan on the 7th and 8th.

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