Ice jam flooding, a tornado, heavy snow and record cold top the list of Michigan weather events on this day in history. From the National Weather Service archives here are the Michigan weather events that happened on January 18.
1857 – Extreme cold weather prevails across the eastern United States. In Lower Michigan, (while not part of the official record) a temperature of -28° was reported in Grand Rapids.
1976 – Arctic air and deep snow results in record cold across interior Lower Michigan. The temperature plunges to -25° at Lansing and -20° at Jackson. Along Lake Michigan, clouds and an onshore flow keep lows from falling below zero. The low of 10° at Muskegon is 35° warmer than the low at Lansing. The overnight temperature dropped to -25° in Flint. This is the record low for the city of Flint, as well as the coldest temperature ever recorded in either Flint, Saginaw or Detroit!
1994 – Bark River had a high temperature of only -11°. Marquette had record temperatures of -15° for a high which is the coldest high temperature ever recorded and a low of -25°. Other daily record lows for the day include Grand Rapids at -15° and Muskegon -7°. Daily records for the coldest highs include Grand Rapids with 0°, -1° for Muskegon, Lansing and Alpena, 1° at Detroit, and -5° at Sault Ste. Marie. For Flint and Houghton Lake the high is -4° which is the coldest high ever record for both cities.
1996 – A blizzard moving through the Dakotas pulls warm air up over Michigan. Record highs in the upper 50s and lower 60s are followed by a line of heavy rain and severe thunderstorms. At least one weak tornado is spawned by the squall line, which is quickly followed by a blast of arctic air and rain changing to snow. Rapids snowmelt and heavy rains, followed by a quick freeze, leads to many areas of ice jam flooding.
1996 – The Weather Forecast Office in Marquette tied the record high temperature of 44° set in 1973 and again in 1981. Precipitation started off as snow and then switched to freezing rain, rain and back to sleet at the National Weather Service office this day. Weather Forecast Office in Marquette set record precipitation in this storm of 1.33 inches of liquid water equivalent. Considerable street flooding was reported in Iron Mountain, Escanaba and Marquette as snow and ice clogged sewer drains. Over 2 inches of rain and freezing rain fell over parts of South Central Upper Michigan. Amounts included 2.70 inches at Spaulding, 2.30 inches at Cornell, 2.20 inches at Stephenson, 2.15 inches at Iron Mountain and 2.12 inches at Fayette. Over North Central Upper Michigan, a combined total of 10 to 12 inches of snow and ice pellets fell between Champion, Marquette and Skandia during the afternoon and evening. Alger and Luce Counties received between 1 and 1.5 inches of rain and freezing rain.
1999 – An area of low pressure tracked from Minnesota northeast across central Upper Michigan, spreading mixed precipitation across the Upper Peninsula. Rain turned to sleet and then to snow as the storm center passed. The snow was enhanced by Lake Superior over the Keweenaw Peninsula, doubling or tripling the amounts of snow received elsewhere across the Upper Peninsula. Snowfall totals over the Keweenaw included 14.5 inches at Phoenix and 12.4 inches at the Houghton County Airport.
2009 – A clipper low pressure system tracking across Lake Superior and stalling out over southeast Ontario brought moderate snow and locally heavy lake effect snow to portions of west and central Upper Michigan from the 17th into the 20th. The spotter just east of Foster City measured a storm total snowfall of 7.2 inches.