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Record cold, golf ball sized hail and tornadoes

Almanac 20 July 2014
Almanac 20 July 2014
Gtand Rapids Weather Examiner

Record cold, golf ball sized hail and tornadoes top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here events that happened on July 20.

1954 - Severe thunderstorms produced golf ball-sized hail and damaging winds across West Michigan. In Kent, Ionia and Montcalm Counties, dozens of trees were felled and some crops were wiped out by the hail and high winds.

1972 - A tornado hit near Spalding, MI. Some homemade wooden lawn chairs were lifted 12 feet in the air, hit a tree and blew apart. A large Chinese elm tree was uprooted. Telephone poles were slanted with a 6 inch gap on the northwest side of them. Some screening was blown off a mobile home, but no serious damage reported. The tornado hit a sewer pond later with the water from the pond sucked into it creating a huge whirling geyser. A separate F2 tornado touched down in the mid afternoon in Rock, MI in Delta County. This tornado was on the ground for 0.8 mile and was 70 yards wide. It did $250,000 worth of property damage with one injury.

1984 - Genesee County experienced hail that was 1.75 inches in diameter.

1992 - Cold temperatures continue during the summer. A cold record low high temperature of 59° with a record low temperature of 39° at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette.

2003 - The Ironwood Airport (IWD) reported a 75 mph wind gust out of a severe thunderstorm in the late afternoon. Golf ball sized hail (1.75 inch) and several 2 to 3 inch diameter trees were uprooted in Powers in the early evening. A weak short-wave moving across Michigan's Upper Peninsula triggered evening thunderstorms that produced large hail and damaging winds. A tornado with peak winds around 100 mph struck near Battle Creek. It left an 8 mile long damage path and tore a garage from a house. Three outbuildings and a barn were also destroyed. Hundreds of trees were uprooted or broken off. The tornado width was nearly one half mile wide where the most severe damage occurred.

2010 - An upper level disturbance triggered scattered severe thunderstorms over south central Upper Michigan in the afternoon and evening. Numerous trees and power lines were reported down and damage was also reported to homes and cars from downed trees 1 mile southeast of Iron Mountain Airport. Street flooding also occurred. $75,000 in property damage in Iron Mountain occurred with this thunderstorm. Seven large trees were blown down in the Meyer Township Cemetery in Hermansville, one of which was a 60-foot, 40-inch diameter basswood. Widespread tree damage occurred, most extensively in the 1st Street area of Menominee. A tree fell on a car and another had roots exposed. A boat and a trailer were overturned. Two trees fell into power lines and a power pole, snapping the pole. $50,000 in damage was done in the Menominee area from this storm.

2011 - Record heat for Muskegon with a high 92°. The Weather Forecast Office in Marquette observes a daily record high temperature of 94° with a daily record warm minimum temperature of 68°. An approaching warm front produced a few severe thunderstorms and heavy rain over portions of Houghton County in the early morning. 1.75 inch (golf ball sized) hail fell 2 miles northwest of Jacobsville. Most of the hail observed was between dime and quarter-sized, but a few stones were the size of golf balls. A public report of heavy rain was received from Toivola of 4.5 inches of rain in six hours.

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