Michigan weather 1823 to 1853

posted in: Michigan Weather Forecast, Slim | 4

It is the time of the year to remember those who 1. Gave their lives for our country and also remember all of our love ones who have passed on. And it is the start of the summer season as well.
Memorial Day extremes
Finding the weather history for Memorial Day until 1971 is easy as the date was observed on May 30th but from 1971 on that change as the date was changed to the last Monday in May and that can range from May 25th all the way to the 31st. Any way here are some weather extremes for the Holladay at Grand Rapids.
The warmest Memorial day was in 1919 with a high of 92° it was a hot 91° in 1978 and 2006 (both years on May 29th) and that 91 was also on May 28th 2012. The coldest low was 34° on May 30th 1965 with 35° coming in on May 27th 1974. The worst Memorial Day weather wise was on May 28th 1984 when Grand Rapids had a high of 57° and a low of 41° with 1.82” of rain. Not a good beach day. Last year the Memorial weekend was rather nice with highs of 77 on Saturday and Sunday and 75 on Memorial Day itself.

Michigan weather 1823 to 1853
This is a continuation from last weeks post.


1823 In January The US Army Post Surgeon at Fort Brady, Just west of Sault Ste. Marie starts keeping his “Diary of the Weather” In February of 1826 he reports that on February 8th the temperature fall to -30° He reports the average for that February as 8.9° and the warmest at 33°. He kept records at the Fort for the next 32 years.
1826 a reading of -37° was reported at Fort Brady on February 11th
1827 Fort Brady high for the year is just 84° Note there are other summers where the highest it get at The Sault are only in the mid 80°
1834 The coldest it get at Fort Brady is a mild -12° on January 19th Around noon on July 17th the St Marys River suddenly falls to just a few feet. Less than a hour later the water level jumps well above average in what must have been a massive seiche.
1835/36 a long winter starts out in November and lingers well into April that winter created all kinds of hardship for settlers in the upper Great Lakes area. Ever month from November to May was well below average (using todays averages) and became known as “The Starving Time” It was reported that the temperature fell to -40° at Fort Brady on February 1st
1836/37 The winter and spring of 1836/37 was yet another very cold one Fort Brady’s coldest reading that winter was -30° on February 5th Summer was also very cold with a reported mean of just 56.8° that would make the summer of 1837 the coldest on record at the Sault.
1838 A wet summer in the Great Lakes area lifts the water levels of Lake Michigan and Huron to 584’ above sea level in July That would be 4.5’ above the 20th century average and 1.7’ above peak leaves of 1986. The high water levels were the last of a long and cool wet spell that began around 1000 A.D.
1839 the temperature soars to 96° on July 12th at Fort Brady.
1843 March of 1843 had a mean temperature of 12.1° at Fort Brady and 22.5° at Detroit. Both locations were about 5° colder than a average January. February that year was around -7° average at Fort Brady. Even though some spring like weather arrived on April 10th Lake Erie doesn’t open up until May 6th A warm summer brings a good crop season (can we see the same this year?)
1845 Detroit’s winter December/February 1844/45 is very mild averaging 32.8° a undated seiche is reported at Copper Harbor.
1846 the annual average temperature of 43.6° at Fort Brady makes that year one of the warmest at the Sault. Every month is warmer than average. (last year the mean average for the year was 43.9 and it was even warmer in 2016 at 45.0°)
1848 Steamer cruise Lake Erie between Buffalo and Detroit in February and yet another mild winter prevails.
1851 Fort Mackinac reports only 11.70” of precipitation all year, but that may not have been right as Fort Brady reported 45.30”.
1853 Temperatures soar all the way to 106° at Detroit on June 22nd and the same 106° at Fort Brady on June 23rd that 106 would be the highest at the Sault (the official highest reading at the Sault is 98° making the Sault and Muskegon the only two major locations in Michigan to never reach 100°)
To be continued
This May will be the first time since 1998 that it has not gotten below 40° in May of course June 1998 was colder that average we shall see.

It looks like we will have a nice and very warm to hot Memorial Day weekend this year.  With highs in the upper 80’s to maybe low 90’s on Sunday and Monday. The record high for Sunday May 28th is 92° set in 1911. The record high for Monday is also 92° set in 1978 and 1977 with several years having a high of 91 with the last one being 2012. The current record for Memorial Day is also 92° in 1919 with 91° coming in 1978 and 2006 so this year has a good chance of being one of the warmest Memorial Days in Grand Rapids history.



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Mark (East Lansing)
Mark (East Lansing)

I am happy to report that 100s of volunteers showed up at Fort Custer this morning to help place flags at the graves. Lots of youngsters too, which warmed my heart – especially the Scouts, whom would render a salute with each flag placed.

Let’s remember why this holiday is so very important.


Alpena hit 90 yesterday and Traverse City hit 91!


Nice post Slim. Very interesting as usual.
We hit 92 yesterday in Otsego (in the shade).