Stuck snow plows, heavy rain, a Bostwick Lake tornado, and a shipwreck 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 4.
1891 - The 3-mast wood schooner Atlanta, was upbound and hit a gale while carrying coal. It was in tow of steamer S.S. Wilhelm. She broke her towline and went to pieces an hour later. 7 crewmembers abandoned her in a lifeboat, but 5 were lost when it capsized near shore. She went down in 180 feet of water at about 3 AM 20 miles off Deer Park, MI in Lake Superior. Outbound from Soo, the new vessel was a total loss of about $37,000.
1902 – A soggy day as 2.36” of rain falls in Saginaw, which is the greatest amount of precipitation recorded for the month of May in Saginaw. Grand Rapids also sees record daily rainfall with 1.06”.
1907 – This is a cold day across West Michigan with Grand Rapids and Muskegon setting a record for the coolest high temperature for the date. Grand Rapids observes a high of only 43° and Muskegon 38°. For Muskegon this is the coolest high temperature for the entire month of May.
1928 - A tornado destroyed several cottages along Bostwick Lake, about ten miles northeast of Grand Rapids.
1954 - 17 inches of snow fell from the 2nd to the 4th around Ironwood with plows becoming stuck. Record snow falls for a second day in a string of three at Grand Rapids. On this day 0.4 inches falls in Grand Rapids and a total of 2.0 inches fall from 3-5 May. On this day Muskegon logs a record snowfall of 0.3” and Lansing a record 0.2”. Muskegon records 0.1 inches on the 5th. Record cold high temperatures accompany the snow with Lansing only observing a high temperature of 41°. Other cities also see records with the cold air, including Detroit 45°, Flint 42°, Houghton Lake 36°, and Marquette 30°. For Marquette this is the coolest high temperature for the entire month of May.
2012 - 3.23" of rain fell in the predawn hours, making it the wettest day that Flint has ever recorded in May. Unfortunately for many Flint residents, the previous record was set only hours earlier on the night of May 3rd. The storm total rainfall of 5.62" inundated the Flint area. The severe flooding that ensued prompted firefighters to use to boats to help residents from their homes and resulted in localized evacuations and a shutdown of a stretch of Interstate 75, which was reported to be submerged by 4 feet of floodwater. The heavy rain also caused the Swartz River in Flint to rise to a record stage of 9.76 feet.