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Slushy snow, a shipwreck and tornadoes

Almanac 1 May 2013 Click on image for a larger view
Almanac 1 May 2013 Click on image for a larger view
Grand Rapids Weather Examiner

Slushy snow, a shipwreck and tornadoes 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 2.

1900 - The schooner-barge, 3-mast R. Hallaran, while carrying 1600 tons of iron ore, was bound Two Harbors, MN for Conneaut, OH, when she was lost from tow of the steamer M.M. Drake in heavy seas during a gale off Stannard Rock, 35 miles from mainland and 8 miles from the rock in Lake Superior. The Drake stood by and picked up her crew with great difficulty, then loitered in the area until the Hallaran drifted off into the fog and presumably went down.

1929 - A snowstorm puts down a slushy coating of 2 to 3 inches of snow across southwest Lower Michigan. Grand Rapids picks up 3” and Lansing 2.4”.

1930 - Grand Rapids was struck by a tornado that moved through the factory district on the south part of the city. Four people were injured as many buildings were unroofed. Damage totaled over a million dollars.

1983 – Severe thunderstorms spawned twenty tornadoes across Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York State. An F2 tornado hit Lenawee County between 1:35 a.m. and 1:40 a.m. Later that same morning, an F3 tornado hit Macomb County at 10:05 a.m. causing $25 million in property damage.

1999 - The Tower Lake Fire began on this day and was the biggest fire since the Sporley Lake fire in 1986. It was spotted at 4:30 in the afternoon with a DNR plane with a campfire suspected to have started it. The fire spread from its position 2 miles south of Highway 41 and M-95 and headed east. It jumped M-95 and closed the highway. At least three vehicles, a mobile home and numerous outbuildings and sheds were destroyed. Hot, dry and windy weather, along with abundant dry fuel left over from winter set the stage and careless campers and an unattended campfire added the spark to start a major wildfire in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. The Tower Lake Fire consumed 5,625 acres before it was extinguished. Firefighters and equipment from Montana, Missouri, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Ontario Canada assisted local fire crews in fighting the blaze. 450 people were evacuated from their homes for the more than four days it took to fight the fire. Four firefighters suffered minor injuries and 15 structures were damaged or destroyed. Ten bridges burned and timber worth about a million dollars went up in smoke. Costs for fighting the blaze exceed one million dollars. Three much smaller forest fires occurred during the same period the Tower Lake Fire was burning. The fire near Gwinn consumed 46 acres with minor damage to a campground at Anderson Lake, The Ishpeming Fire did some minor damage at a golf course and burned 26 acres, and a fire at Little Lake, set by vandals, scorched another 19 acres. While this fire was going on, a prescribed burn had taken place 9 days earlier and rekindled when strong winds hit the area in the eastern U.P. The Troll Fire as it was called had people from downstate fighting it while people in the eastern U.P. were fighting the Tower Lake Fire. The Troll Fire near Brevort burned 775 acres.

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