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Sinking ships, heavy rain, a heat wave and waterspouts

Sinking ships, heavy rain, a heat wave and waterspouts 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 August 7.

Almanac 7 August 2014
Grand Rapids Weather Examiner

1887 - The wood schooner I.N. Foster, was driven into 2-foot shallows during a storm 250 feet from water deep enough to float her in shallows around Washington Island in Lake Michigan. She was stripped and abandoned, but later a channel was dredged to her and she was recovered in August 1888.

1900 - An eight day heat wave continues with temperatures in the lower to mid-90s. Adding to the discomfort are warm and muggy night time low temperatures that only fall to the mid and upper 70s.

1912 - The steel, bulk freighter James Gayley, while carrying coal, collided with the steamer Rensselaer in a dense fog 35 miles east of Manitou Island in Lake Superior and sank in 16 minutes. Cool thinking on the part of both skippers is credited with saving all on board.

1933 - After above normal temperatures that summer and a very dry July and early August, fires broke out on the 5th and 6th. The fires spread through slashings and cutover land and were reported on this day from Keweenaw to Gogebic counties and from Iron and Delta counties to Marquette County. About 2,000 men were fighting these fires. The fire around Diorite was 6 miles long and 4 miles wide at its peak. Many firefighters from surrounding towns fought this fire and kept it from getting to Diorite. Fires were also reported near Hogsback Mountain northwest of Marquette with strong winds pushing the fire completely over the mountain. In Baraga County a 700 acre fire near Arnheim occurred with four farm houses being saved. The Delta and Menominee Fire District had 65 fires during this period, the largest number of any area in the U.P.

1979 - A severe thunderstorm produced wind gusts up to 70 mph 1 miles east northeast of Sault Ste. Marie in the St. Mary's River in the early morning.

1984 - Thunderstorms brought winds of 73 mph in the midafternoon to Genesee County.

1996 - Heavy rains of over 3 inches flooded roads and streams in Lansing and Grand Ledge. In the Upper Peninsula, straight line winds from thunderstorms knocked down 6 inch diameter branches in the city of Ironwood in the early morning. No property damage was reported. A series of microbursts struck Iron County during the early morning. The first was in Iron River where several trees between 12 and 20 inches in diameter were downed over a two block area. The wind tore aluminum sheeting off the roof of a garage, drove a 2X4 piece of wood through the siding of a house, and broke several windows. One of the trees clipped the south side of a garage roof. Combined damage in Iron River was estimated to be $5000. The second microburst was on County Road 424, 9 miles southeast of Iron River. This area consisted of downed trees between 6 and 10 inches in diameter covering a 100 foot wide swath. No property damage occurred with this microburst. The final area was 6 miles west of Crystal Falls covering the intersection of US highway 2 and Oss Road. This area also contained downed trees up to 20 inches diameter and covered a 250 yard wide and one mile long swath. No property damage observed. A downburst of winds downed several large trees between the west side of Marquette and Harvey in the early morning. The storm also damaged 3 power cells at the Board of Light and Power which knocked out power to 3000 customers for 3 hours and caused $30,000 in property damage.

2008 - Several waterspouts are observed over Lake Michigan from Grand Haven to South Haven. At least one of them appears to come onshore, but no damage occurs. See the attached video.