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Tea cup sized hail, blown from a train, flooding, tornadoes and record snow

Almanac 15 May 2012 Click on image for a larger view
Almanac 15 May 2012 Click on image for a larger view
Grand Rapids Weather Examiner

Tea cup sized hail, blown from a train, flooding, tornadoes and record snow 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 May 14.

1886 - A tornado injured one person and damaged several homes north of Lansing. The injury occurred as a conductor was blown from a train.

1982 – Temperatures are in the low to mid-80s most of the week but a passing warm front helped Grand Rapids and Muskegon to set record highs for the date. Both cities observe a high temperature of 89°.

1987 - Oakland County was hit by an F1 tornado at 5:10PM.

1997 - 0.8 inches of daily record snow fell at Weather Forecast Office in Marquette.

2003 - A faulty fuse plug on the Silver Lake Dam produced an uncontrolled release of water down the Dead River storage basin. Heavy rains from the Mother's Day storm and runoff from the Huron Mountains filled the Silver Lake Basin reservoir. During the early afternoon, a safety valve designed to take pressure off the main dam began releasing a high volume of water. Between 3 and 4 PM, the dike supporting this "fuse plug" began to fail. First reports of flooding occurred at 250 PM EST where water was reported over County Road AAO. Water was reported over Mulligan Bridge at County Road AAT at 4 PM EST, stranding a survey crew on the north side of the river. Water began flowing over County Road AAO. By 646 PM EST, fast flowing water was a foot deep over the bridge. Floodwaters began entering secondary homes and camps along the Dead River Storage Basin as a large volume of water continued to flow out of the Silver Lake Basin. Water rose one foot per hour between 11 PM and 1 AM EST on the 15th. Floodwaters began to subside at 8 AM. Damage was reported to 15 secondary residences (camps and summer homes). Several private docks were damaged or destroyed. Over the next several days, the resulting flood waters caused the failure of the downstream Tourist Park Dam and the evacuation of 1800 residents. The total economic impact of the Dead River flood was estimated at $84 million dollars. Silver Lake in Marquette County went from 1400 acres down to 400 acres as the Silver Lake Dam had an earthen dike fail on it. Nearly 1800 residents were ordered to leave their homes and all streets north of Wright Street were closed due to the Dead River flood. Several feet of water gushed over the Hoist Dam and several bridges were taken out by the Silver Lake Dam failure on the Dead River. Several roads were washed out with about 100 seasonal and permanent residences flooded. The Presque Isle Power Plant flooded and the Dead River Bridge on Lakeshore Dr. in Marquette was taken out by the flood.

2004 - A tornado struck the southeast side of Maple Rapids, destroying a silo and damaging two others. A shed was also damaged. A couple of two by fours were driven into the side of a pole barn. Shingles were damaged and ripped off of two homes.

2007 - Scattered thunderstorms tracked across Upper Michigan in the afternoon ahead and along a warm frontal passage. A few of these storms produced large hail over Marquette, Alger and Luce counties. 1.25 inch hail (half dollar sized) fell in Ishpeming at 1300 EST and 1303 EST and 1.25 inch hail fell in National Mine at 1309 EST. Most hailstones were half an inch to an inch and a half in diameter, but a few stones were three inches in diameter (tea cup sized) and shattered car windows 1 mile southeast of Negaunee at 1310 EST causing $6000 in damage. 1 inch hail (quarter sized) fell in Lake Superior 2 miles east of Shot Point at 1349 EST. Half an inch to an inch and a quarter diameter sized hail (half dollar sized) covered the ground 7 miles north northeast of Newberry in the midafternoon. A second round of severe storms developed in the evening coincident with a cold frontal passage. These storms produced large hail and damaging wind over the west half of Upper Michigan. A five-inch diameter tree limb down in Norway in the early evening. Golf ball sized hail (1.75 inch) reported along County Road 550 between the Big Garlic and Little Garlic Rivers 11 miles north of Marquette. A seven-inch diameter tree blown down onto guardrail on Highway M-95 3 miles north of Republic at 1910 EST. A 70 mph wind gust was reported at the KI Sawyer Airport control tower at 1934 EST. Numerous trees blown down 3 miles south of Watersmeet in the early evening with $5000 in property damage. 1 inch hail (quarter sized) fell in Iron River and several three-inch diameter branches blown down 1 mile west of Iron River. The top of a pine tree fell on a car on 48th Avenue along the north city limits of Menominee in the late evening causing $2000 in damage.

2009 - Strong west winds in the wake of a cold front caused power outages in the Laurium/Calumet area of Houghton County in the morning. The observer in Laurium reported extended power outages in the Laurium/Calumet area. Michigan State Police also reported that a transformer started on fire and burned a power pole. The Houghton County Airport ASOS measured a wind gust to 45 knots during the event.

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