Cooler Weather – Weather History

Tomorrow I will have info on the new climate normals for the next 30 years, stay tuned.


Weather History for SW Michigan

May 2

1929: A snowstorm puts down a slushy coating of 2 to 3 inches of snow across southwest Lower Michigan.

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.

May 3

1954: Snow falls on three straight days from the 3rd to the 5th across Lower Michigan. Record snowfall on this date includes the 1.3 inches at Grand Rapids.

1959: Muskegon sets a record high of 82 degrees during a string of five straight days over 80 degrees.

May 4

1928: A tornado destroyed several cottages along Bostwick Lake, about ten miles northeast of Grand Rapids.

May 5

1895: An early-season heat wave peaks with record highs of 96 degrees at Grand Rapids and 92 at Lansing. The 96 degrees at Grand Rapids is a record for so early in the season.

May 6

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.

May 7

1947: Cold and snow prevail across Lower Michigan with lows in the upper 20s and highs only in the upper 30s to lower 40s.

1974: Temperatures tumble as cold high pressure builds into Lower Michigan. Record lows on this date include 22 degrees at Lansing, 25 at Grand Rapids and 27 at Muskegon.

May 8

1976: A freeze hits Lower Michigan with Grand Rapids and Muskegon setting record lows of 27 degrees.

1880: A tornado destroyed two homes and a barn two miles east of Kalamazoo. No one was injured.


Weather History for SE Michigan

May 2

On May 2, 2015, this day in geologic history featured a 4.2M earthquake that was felt in several states. The epicenter was 5 miles south of the town of Galesburg in Southwest Lower Michigan. It was the 2nd strongest earthquake on record in Michigan behind a 4.6M near Kalamazoo in 1947.

On May 2, 1983, 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.

May 3

On May 3, 2012, a severe thunderstorm outbreak resulted in numerous reports of wind damage, including a small plane being flipped over at Bishop International Airport in Flint. Heavy rain and thunderstorms lasted well into the evening hours and dropped 2.39″ of rain on the city, making in the highest daily rainfall total that Flint had ever recorded in the month of May…until the next morning when continuing heavy rains dumped another 3.23″.

On May 3, 1951, Livingston County was hit by an F2 tornado at 2:35 PM.

May 4

On May 4, 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.

On May 4, 1902, 2.36 inches of rainfall fell in Saginaw, which is the greatest amount of precipitation recorded for the month of May in Saginaw.

May 5

On May 5, 2003, an F1 tornado hit outside of Leonard in Oakland County. There were also many reports of hail ranging from 0.75 inches to 0.88 inches throughout the cities of Linden, Flint, Fenton, Grand Blanc, Thetford Center, Burton and Davison. Some of these places also reported wind from 70 to 75 mph.

May 6

On May 6, 1947, in Detroit, the Rouge River crested to a height of 23 feet (with the flood stage being 15 feet).

May 7

On May 7, 1974, a two-day span of record lows occurred in Detroit on the 6th with 31 degrees and on the 7th with 27 degrees.

May 8

On May 8, 1964, an F4 tornado moved through Chesterfield Township in southern Macomb County, touching down at 4:59 pm. This tornado touched down north of Mt. Clemens and moved across Chesterfield Township near the Lake St. Clair shoreline before entering Lake St. Clair southwest of New Baltimore. This was the strongest tornado to ever hit Macomb County and was responsible for 13 fatalities.


Forecast Discussion

Model guidance has been relatively stable the past couple days
depicting the main synoptic features influencing weather across
the central Great Lakes. The big picture is for cooler than normal
temperatures with the best chance for frost and freezing
conditions on Friday night. No heavy precipitation is expected,
but there could be some measurable rain as a shortwave trough
helps lower heights and usher in reinforcing cold air Thursday
into Friday.

Some snow may mix in Thursday night, especially across the
northern forecast area. We do not expect any impacts to travel
given the marginal conditions for snow and the fact that precip
rates should not be heavy.

Frost and freezing temperatures continue to be a threat into early
next week, especially Monday and Tuesday as a large Canadian
surface high will be centered over the area suggesting prime
radiational cooling conditions.

newest oldest
Rocky (Rockford)
Rocky (Rockford)

Get ready for some incredible May cold! Frost and freeze warnings are imminent this week! Wow!!

Barry in Zeeland
Barry in Zeeland

Just another stunningly perfect day again with all sun and temps around 60 degrees. We have had a lot of bright days the past several months!

Barry in Zeeland
Barry in Zeeland

Bills posting outlooks for next Winter already. He sums it up with “ we’re not looking at an exceptionally snowy or cold winter in 2021-22.”
Let’s go for a 3-peat on Winters with barely any snow!

Slim

With the track record that many long range guessers have had the last couple of years I am not sure if I would put much into any long range guess.
Slim

Barry in Zeeland
Barry in Zeeland

Oh I agree completely. If one is to make a guess you’re just as well off to assume recent patterns of the past couple years will continue until something big breaks it up.

INDY
INDY

51* degrees in my area it’s another below average May day love it!!! INDY

Slim

At this time it is cloudy and 46 here.
Slim

Slim

The new 30 year averages are now out. This time there is also a new 15 year average to compare for more recent times.
https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/products/us-climate-normals
Here at Grand Rapids the annual mean went up from 49.1 to 49.3 The new annual snow fall at Grand Rapids is now 77.6″ up from the old 74.9″ The total precip went up from 38.27 to 39.40. While most months went up in temperature not all did as February, April and November went down.
Slim

Nathan (forest Hills)
Nathan (forest Hills)

Also the monthly snow totals changed a bit. Looks like December is much warmer and less snowy, while February is much colder and snowier. This is a trend I have noticed.

Nathan (forest Hills)
Nathan (forest Hills)

And by “much warmer/colder” I mean 1-2 degrees, which is significant… especially in the winter when averages hover around freezing.