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Tornadoes, flooding, fire, snow and hail

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Tornadoes, flooding, fire, snow and hail top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service and Storm Prediction Center (SPC) archives here are the weather events that happened on May 6.

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1902 - A tornado injures two people and destroys several barns east of Maple Rapids in Clinton County. Another tornado destroys several barns near Tekonsha in Calhoun County.

1947 - In Detroit, the Rouge River crested to a height of 23 feet (with flood stage being 15 feet).

1960 - 3 inches of snow fell in Iron Mountain.

1964 - An F2 tornado touched down in Alger County just northwest of Eben Junction in the early evening. The tornado caused a reported $250,000 worth of property damage and was on the ground for a mile. A barn was leveled, killing 25 cattle, 3 miles northwest of Sundell. A gust to 73 mph occurred out of a thunderstorm 3.3 miles north of Ewen in the late afternoon.

1965 - A severe thunderstorm dropped 1.5 inch hail (ping pong ball sized hail) 7.2 miles north northwest of Bessemer in the late afternoon.

1986 - A series of fires fanned by strong southwest winds burned more than 8,000 acres, most of them in Marquette County. Winds of 50 to 60 mph blew down a number of power lines which started the fires. In excess of 100 fires broke out all over the U.P. but mainly in Marquette County. One of the largest fires was near Sporley Lake and at its peak, measured 2.5 miles wide by 5.5 miles long. The fire moved towards K.I. Sawyer Airbase and forced the evacuation of around 8,000 residents from their houses. Camps, outbuildings, boats and snowmobiles were torched amounting to losses in excess of $500,000.

2002 – Ping pong ball sized hail (1.5 inch) covered the ground in Gladstone in the mid afternoon during a severe thunderstorm.

2004 - A cold front produced several rounds of storms across West Michigan, one in the morning and one in the evening. Small hail falls in Oceana and Newaygo counties during the morning. Larger hail falls during the late evening and overnight hours. North Adams in Hillsdale County observes hail 2” in diameter. There are several other reports of large hail across southern Lower Michigan from Kalamazoo to Wayne County. Numerous trees come down in St Joseph County. View the radar animation of the thunderstorms here: SPC radar loop May 6, 2004. The slideshow on the left has a few weather maps from this day.

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